In June 2023 I was very fortunate to join a “Kaffee und Kuchen” morning on a sunny summer’s day at the Freud’s London home at 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, London. Meeting with Director (Guiseppe Albano) and archivist/Freud expert (Daniel Bento, son of Sigmund’s caretaker), I learned about Freud’s experiences of coming to London over coffee and strudel in the home’s beautiful gardens. Viewing the exhibition “Freud’s Antiquity: Object, idea and Desire” and later attending the webinar presented by the curators of this fascinating exhibition really allowed me to feel close to the ideas and theories we incorporate into our work as psychoanalytic psychotherapists. The home itself, now a museum, offers visitors the opportunity to learn about Sigmund and his daughter Anna Freud, child psychoanalyst and also their close connections with other analysts such as American child psychoanalyst Dorothy Burlingham who also resided in and utilised these premises. Freud House, as a curated museum space now allows us to become acquainted with the objects and artefacts that surrounded Sigmund when he worked and informed his theories. The museum also hosts educational seminars/webinars, meetings and exhibitions and sells psychoanalytic and related books and gifts in it’s own gift shop.
Sigmund with his wife Martha, children including their youngest daughter, Anna and their dogs had arrived in 1938 to escape the expanse of Nazi occupation in his home city of Vienna. They brought all their belongings across and made London their home. Freud enjoyed the home until he died, in the home, in 1939. His wife and Anna continued living there and used the home as a consulting space for her own child clients in the house at 21 Maresfield gardens where she and Ernst built the Toddler Hut, a small tent in the gardens used for child and family observations.
The gardens themselves were always well curated and gave Freud something beautiful to look out onto from his study. He also used the space to host a number of parties/gatherings of like -minded friends and colleagues.
Anna Freud (born 1895) was the youngest of Sigmund Freud’s six children and fled with her parents to live in London. Anna, who had already begun to train and work as a child psychoanalyst in Vienna, further developed her ideas and responses to the children impacted by the second world war. Sophie Freud, Anna’s niece, stated “She wanted children to have lives that would not be oppressed and exploited, restricted, impoverished, or damaged by an uncaring adult world. It was her fervent hope that by spreading the wisdom of psychoanalytic insight she could improve children’s lives in their families, clinics, schools, hospitals, and courts. It was in this role of advocate for children that she spoke most clearly in her own voice and that we can celebrate her wholeheartedly.” (Sophie Freud, 1983).
See the website for history and resources relating to Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud.
I hope you enjoy these photos and that they inspire you to visit Freud House Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, London. NW3 5SX, and/or the website…https://www.freud.org.uk/