Dennis Severs' House

As you pass through the doors of 18 Folgate Street, you’ll feel as if you’ve stumbled back into the eighteenth century.

In short, Dennis Severs, the brains behind this space, was an artist. He purchased the Spitalfields property in 1979 and slowly transformed the dilapidated building into a realistic imitation of Georgian life.

18 Folgate StreetToday, the ‘still-life drama’ is open to the public and welcomes guests every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for silent viewings.

The building itself is a Grade II listed Georgian terrace house, not far away from the legendary Spitalfields Market. Dennis bought the house and gradually refashioned the ten rooms in the style of former centuries.

“He was an eccentric and charismatic character, originally born in America,” explains David Milne, a close friend and curator of the house. “He was in love with the idea of Old England.”

Authentic SettingsDennis actually lived at the house from 1979 until 1999, making use of all of the eighteenth century artefacts and features that he installed.

“He loved entertaining in the house, and truly lived and breathed the space. Although, he never wore period costume himself.”

Nowadays, the objects that Dennis once used on a daily basis are only looked upon by visitors: “Of course, we want to protect what Dennis created,” David adds.

During a tour of the house, you will be invited into the fictional Jervis family house. They were a real family, although never lived here. Dennis created the house to imitate perfectly the lives of this family of Huguenot (French immigrant) silk weavers.

“One of the main things Dennis had to do when he first moved in was remove all of the electrics,” David chuckles. “He wanted everything to be lit by fire and candles, as it would have been back then.”

Beautiful detailsAs you venture around the four-story structure, you will feel as if the occupants have just left the room. Realistic smells and sounds fill each space, evoking a moment of Jervis family life.

You start out in the dark mysterious cellar and then head towards the well-lit kitchen area. After this, several floors of intriguing rooms can be explored and experienced. There’s the Chambers, Eating Parlour, The Smoking Room and Boudoirs. 

“We also hire the space out to film crews and photographers,” David informs us. “We’ve worked with the BBC to create Behind Closed Doors, At Home with the Georgians and If Walls Could Talk.”

Christmas at 18 Folgate is a spectacular sight. Traditional ornaments and decorations adorn the walls and furniture, whilst the fire roars and crackles. It really is like a scene from a Dickensian novel: “This year, the installation will be at the house from 19 November to 4 January 2018.”

Dennis Severs' House is open on certain days of the week. Booking is essential if you're planning to visit. You can find out more information on their website.

For the cheapest fares, no booking fees and free 4G Wi-Fi, book your trip to London with Hull Trains today.