A remarkable time capsule in Spitalfields, Dennis Severs’ House reopens its doors to visitors at the end of the month.
Dennis Severs came to Spitalfields in 1979 and bought a derelict house saved by the Spitalfields Trust. He reconfigured it to tell the story of an imaginary Huguenot family who had lived there since it was built in 1724.
To walk in is to step back in time to a house where the owners and staff have just stepped outside. It’s not a museum per se, but a moment frozen in time. It’s an atmospheric experience totally unlike any museum you’ve visited before. The visit is enhanced by whispers, as your visit is to be undertaken silently as you walk around the rooms soaking up the atmosphere before returning discombobulated into the noisy modern world outside.
Dennis Severs’ House will reopen on Thursday 29th July and will be open Thur-Sun, with tickets needing to be booked in advance.
From Saturday 31st July
An unguided tour through the house in daylight, without speaking, explored at your own pace. 18 Folgate Street is famous for the quality of its silence enlivened by ticking clocks, and crackling fires. When there is no chatter, you grow more aware of fragrances – perfume, wood smoke and oranges. Compounded by the intricate visual detail, this is an intense experience for all the senses.
Tickets cost £15 for adults and £10 for children and concessions.
From Friday 30th July
The same as the Silent Visit, but in the evenings for adults only, and with the rooms lit by candlelight.
Tickets cost £20
Dennis Severs’ Tour
From Thursday 29th July
Drawing upon newly-discovered recordings and unpublished writings by Dennis Severs, The Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life has recreated the famously evocative tours that Dennis gave after he first opened his house in 1980.
Dennis Severs arranged each room as a scene in a family drama, inspired by the shadows of the past he sensed within the house. In this way he transported his guests through centuries, little expecting that he would – in due course – become one of the shadows himself. Yet this is what has happened.
The tours last 90 minutes and cost £65.