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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

252 The magical and fascinating 18 Folgate Street ,Spittlefields ,E16BX London

A magical experience awaited me inside this house of delights.I first visited this exciting "time capsule" many years ago  but this time I took a friend to share a candlelit evening.

In the 1970s a Californian called Dennis Severs came to London and bought this tumble down house and lived inside in VERY rough conditions!  There is neither electricity nor gas.Over a period he collected the antiques of the early 18th century and transformed the house into a living experience (NOT a museum).he also lived in the house whilst acquiring these treasures.When he died, he gave the house to the historic buildings society for all of us to enjoy and what a wonderful gift it is.

On entering the house one is immediately transported to another century.The visit is made in silence and the scents of the period  -oranges and cloves waft by and the REAL black pussy cat brushes up against your leg.

Each level and room has its own feel and a wonderful collection of period candlesticks light your way.

I admit that it is brimming over with all my favourite things,from fine English wine glasses with air spiral stems to peruques and gentleman's silk waistcoats .It has the feel of calling into someones home who has just left in a hurry and will return in haste.

The beds are unmade  and the sheets are still warm behind the drapes and the lady of the house has all her toiletries  on her dressing table for you to see .In the drawing room her half full cup of tea is there with pieces of cake !

The gentleman ,for this is the home of the Jervis family in 1688,a master of the Huguenot silk weavers,has all his accoutrements for you to enjoy .
"Aut visum aut non !  "     you see it OR  you don't !
The bells of the local church and the creaking of the wooden stairs punctuate your visit and in no time at all you are in a lateral universe.

It is SO exciting to climb up the winding stairs to all of the the rooms and gaze upon papers ,books ,quills,silk shoes,blue and white china ,exquisite mirrors and a host of other fascinating objects.
I thoroughly recommend a visit and all the details are on the website. Telephone  0207 247 4013.

I also bought the book and DVD  which I'm looking forward to enjoying.And so to bed perchance to dream.....

and as if that were not enough ! I had the great delight in meeting Dan Cruikshank that evening whose book I have just enjoyed and THOROUGHLY recommend for a detailed expose of life in Georgian London ,a page turner if ever there was one . 

Dan is a well known historian who frequently produces THE most fascinating programmes of history and architecture  ,NOT to be missed.
This is his home in the area.
Spitalfields' historic association with the silk industry was established by French Protestant (Huguenots) refugees who settled in this area after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. By settling here, outside the bounds of the City of London, they hoped to avoid the restrictive legislation of the City Guilds. The Huguenots brought with them little, apart from their skills, and an Order in Council of 16 April 1687 raised £200,000 for the relief of their poverty. In December 1687, the first report of the committee set up to administer the funds reported that 13,050 French refugees were settled in London, primarily around Spitalfields, but also in the nearby settlements of Bethnal Green, Shoreditch, Whitechapel and Mile End New Town.
The late 17th and 18th centuries saw an estate of well appointed terraced houses, built to accommodate the master weavers controlling the silk industry, and grand urban mansions built around the newly created Spital Square. Christ Church, Spitalfields on Fournier Street, designed by the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, was built during the reign of Queen Anne to demonstrate the power of the established church to the dissenting Huguenots, who had built ten of their own chapels in the area. More humble weavers dwellings were congregated in the Tenterground.
There has been a market on the site since 1638 when Charles I gave a licence for flesh, fowl and roots to be sold in what was then known as Spittle Fields. The Market currently receives around 25,000 visitors every week.

The whole area for me is fascinating,I used to visit every Sunday afternoon .There is a feast of history ,architecture ,antiques , vibrant culture and the bursting new architecture of the financial city - altogether wonderful.

Liverpool street station

and on another day..........
by Tube   ( which I love ) to St Pauls Cathedral

 and St Bartholomews and more  and more glass and mirrored architecture.

For Merlin x

and then a quick trip to Marks and Spencers for Merlins favourite before taking the train to Derbyshire ,lancashire ,Yorkshire ,Cumbria and Wales.If you havent already fixed wheels to your feet ,you may need to do !!the next 2 weeks I have a lot of ground to cover before returning to London !and then home to Firenze.
My trip has been a melange, some very sad parts  visiting very dear relatives who are ill but also fun parts staying with my brother and seeing old friends- and the weather was wonderful throughout - how fortunate am I ?

Welsh mountains

Bodysgallen Hall 1622

Arnside in Cumbria

walks on the beach....

 on to Lancashire and lunch at a 17th century Inn.....

and meeting friends from childhood...

typical dry stone walls

and on to Salterforth...

Pendle Hill
Kates  Rose
Village of Chipping

walking with my brother....

I wonder what happened in 1770 ??

meadow sweet

another lovely day .

Sticky toffee pudding !!!

Lunch with the lovely Geoffrey Munn and  chance to admire this exquisite piece of Faberge from 1900- a bell pull

you could own it for £240,000....

and back to The Sloane club to relax and recharge my batteries

Meet friends for tea and squeeze in as many visits as possible  !
collect a couple of antiques


and enjoy" London fruit"

which hasn't been frozen!

more relaxing at the Sloane club and then off for tea...

whizzing through Chelsea...

Sloane Square

The Kings Road

Sloane street

up to Piccadilly and the various Arcades 

Claridges hotel

The Burlington arcade

Vivienne Westwood

and another cup of tea !

The Royal Accademy

and a visit to one of my very favourite shops  ,which used to be an old dairy....

I hope that you aren't feeling faint by now !!! if you are still here,  it was quite a long trip   ! 
  so I'm going to rest and have another cup of tea !!
as I'm feeling a little light headed 
 sweet dreams Merlin xx