This must be one of the most amazing places to see in London. This is what I expected Charles Dickens House to be like, and all other historical house in fact. Real food, real fire, candle light – it looked, felt and smelt like we went back in time.
The house is supposed to be seen in an absolute silence, there are sounds assisting you to truly experience life of this family of silk weavers, you can hear steps on the stairs, bits of conversation, tea being poured into cups. There is an unfinished breakfast and an unopened letter in one of the bedrooms, half drunk cups of tea, a pomegranate cut in half, someone has just left the table, perhaps to answer the door, and will be back soon. After a while you start to imagine additional noises and become acquainted with the inhabitants.
You are not meant to look at all the object like in a museum but take it all in as a home, we move through the ages starting in the basement where bits of St. Mary’s Spital are placed in a crater, they are from 1197, we move on to Enlightenment, Victorian times, Baroque and end in 1914, there is no chronological order as such, but you grow more mature as a person ending in a ragged dirty bedroom at the top which probably housed an industrial working class family of eight.
If you visit now you will discover the house to be all dressed up for Christmas with a Christmas tree, mince pies, Christmas pudding, sweets and plenty of spectacular festive decorations. You can also book a place for the evening tour called Silent Night, how amazing would that be? No artificial light whatsoever.
The house is a location as well and Crimson Petal and the White was shot there, I am guessing scenes from Mrs Castaway’s house, definitely Sugar’s bedroom.
Take a peek.
Dennis Severs’ House
18 Folgate Street
For opening times visit the website.