Dennis Severs' House

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Olde-worlde residence that survives as a theatrical museum piece
An inventively nostalgic, precious and singular London experience in which the visitor quietly wanders from room to room in a reconstructed Georgian house, progressing chronologically through the 18th and 19th centuries. Each of the ten rooms captures a different era and a particular moment via objects, smells and recorded noises. This elaborate and obsessively detailed time capsule was the inspiration of gay California-born Dennis Severs (1948–99), who from 1979 lived here without electricity while constructing this must-see for anyone appreciating a vivid historical imagination. Monday and Wednesday evenings are reserved for silent observers. The house is located in the atmospheric French Protestant (Huguenot) settlement Spitalfields, with many other jewels to look at including Nicholas Hawksmoor's baroque masterwork Christ Church, Spitalfields, plus some of London's most treasured terraced addresses such as Fournier St, where artists Gilbert and George have lived for decades. Close by is Brick Lane, home to a thriving Bangladeshi community [with many restaurants] and a now-hip art scene. Trendy-arty Shoreditch is a ten-minute walk to the north, while Whitechapel Art Gallery is also within walking distance (eight minutes south), as is the City of London proper to the west. And close by, on the ground floor of novelist Jeanette Winterson's house at 40 Brushfield St, is Verde & Co [see entry] — a superior foodie takeway whose conspicuous retro-Georgian decor might perfectly complement a trip to Severs's house.


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