Wednesday 18 November 2015

Travelling Back In Time

18 Folgate Street, 
E1 6BX

Easy to recognise as it's the only one with a gas lit lamp outside and a non electric doorbell. Switch off all your modern day technology and leave the twenty first century at the threshold as you enter the world of the Jenvers family. Ten rooms set out in exquisite period detail from 1724-1914. Backlit by candlelight you are invited to view the dioramas in silence at your own speed as your mind weaves together different threads to form an imagined tale of the occupants who have left just before you. Discarded clues of their recent activities lie all around. There are pairs of earrings left on the side by the wearer, a pile of dirty linen in the corner of the bedroom and a half drunk cup of coffee still warm with its aroma wafting as you drift past.

Anyway back to reality and enough of my pretentious wafflings. It's a fascinating place to visit, but no photos allowed for which I am grateful really as I think it would take something away from the experience. Pared back to your senses as it is, a camera would only add an element of distraction. The house was owned and lived in by the artist Dennis Severs [1948-1999] who created this world of illusion around the imaginary Jenvers family. The rooms are set in different historical periods as they follow the fortunes of the Jenvers with an appropriate level of background noise enhancing the impression that those recently departed are just out of sight. It has an amazing level of detail and unlike the sets in Stately Homes the food is real and fresh and the different smells are genuine not chemical based. Even the diary is turned to the correct date. The biggest shock for me though came when the model black cat suddenly stretched and changed was most definitely the real, purring mccoy. I am quite possibly a bit of a philistine but I had no truck with the "Brian Sewell" type written instructions but I'm sure for others it would add an extra dimension. Definitely a fabulously unique experience. More info here [you have to prebook]



  1. Hi Aril, sorry I don't comment very often - but I'm still here!
    This sounds like a fascinating place to visit, I looked at the link too - fab.
    Hope you are keeping well.
    Very best wishes as always
    Rose H

  2. Hi Rose- it's good to hear from you. I am always delighted if people take the time to leave a comment for me but I don't expect it. I just carry on wittering anyway!


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