Mention Benjamin Franklin to your average Jo and the chances are you won't get much of a response. Even me, a History graduate, couldn't have told you much about who he was or what he did. Shocking.
A recent trip to New York quickly changed all this as every time I drew a $100 from my purse (it didn't happen very often) who do you think was there glaring back at me? You guessed it, Mr Franklin (he currently graces the obverse of the $100 bill).
Ashamed to call myself a history enthusiast I resolved to right my wrong back in London, which is exactly what led me to the door of 36 Craven Street, the former residence of Benjamin Franklin himself.
Just a second's walk from Trafalgar Square, Craven Street is an unobtrusive setting for such an historically important building. No drum rolls or queues stretching for miles at this place, just a light tap at the door and you're quickly welcomed inside. And into another world.
For 16 years 36 Craven Street was the London abode of Franklin, and has since been converted into a museum and educational facility. I say "converted," yet great lengths have been taken to ensure that many of the house's original features have been maintained. You literally feel as though you're seeing the house through the eyes of Franklin, an eerie yet fascinating feeling.
The "Historical Experience" tour is a must, and at just £7 is fantastic value. Running from Wednesday to Sunday the tour includes a live performance from one of Franklins "former" servants, the acting of whom is convincing enough to hold your attention throughout.
Whether you're a history buff looking to indulge in an afternoon of learning, or a Franklin novice mildly interested in his story, Benjamin Franklin House is well worth a visit. If nothing else you will leave feeling a lot more intelligent than when you arrived, and suitably impressed by the unbelievable life of this unbelievable man.
I am writing on behalf of Benjamin Franklin House, the world’s only surviving Franklin home, a landmark Georgian town house in the centre of London. This past January, we celebrated Franklin’s 305th birthday and our 5th anniversary of being an open, dynamic museum and educational facility. Prior, the House was derelict for over 25 years and never open to the public.
Thank you for your review and for featuring London's hidden gem Benjamin Franklin House on this website. We do hope you will continue to include us in any updated versions. I have attached a brief, up-to-date outline of our information for visitors.
On Mondays we now exclusively offer visitors an architectural tour of the building.
I would be happy to provide additional information and images of the House and our main offering, the Historical Experience, in a separate email attachment.
Front of House and Marketing Supervisor
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN HOUSE
36 Craven Street
London WC2N 5NF