Dennis Severs House

The were rules: No touching and no talking. Look, listen, smell, appreciate and absorb the atmosphere.

For my work Christmas outing we visited the Dennis Severs House in Folgate Street, Spitalfields, City of London. Opposite the lovely ‘Water Poet’ pub was a relatively nondescript black door to an ordinary looking Georgian townhouse. Inside, however, was a treasure trove.

The rooms were decorated in styles dating from 1724 when the house was built up to the 1850s. Each room was crowded with items plus bits of real food. The idea was that the room had just been vacated by the occupier and I have to say that’s exactly how it felt.

Each room also had some subtle music or sound effects that together with the silent visitors and perfect arrangement of the rooms created a fantastic ‘presence’. I found it quite a surreal experience but quite compelling and it is something that I have thought about since.

A wonderful experience that i would highly recommend. I would say though that I found that i had to ‘let myself go’ a bit and not analyze things too much to get the most out of it. An unusual but enjoyable night.

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