Visiting London? Here is a place you need to explore…

Dear lovers of unusual atmospheres and travels back in time, I invite you to visit this magnificent residence which is located at 18 Folgate Street, Spitalfields, London. For my part, I think I already went there three or four times, and it was always a delightful moment .This house decorated and staged by a man named Dennis Severs offers you an intimate journey in the heart of the life a family of weavers, from 1724 to the end of the 19th century; A “time capsule” therefore, a secret passage that crosses time.

As you walk through each room (ten in total), you’re invited to observe the everyday life of each generation.The tour is done with small groups and by reservation only, it can be made by day but also (and I highly recommend this second option) by night, by the light of candles. The atmosphere is both warm and disturbing, depending on where you end up. Another essential element: everybody must visit in silence and cameras or phones are forbidden. No selfie here! You’re have no other choice than fully live the present moment. It’s not about seeing things, but about feeling them. You’re immersed in an experience where a thousand of smells overwhelm you, where the presence of the family members is almost palpable.

By the way, will they soon be back? It seems to me that I can hear some snatches of conversations … the walls are whispering… As I venture from one room to another, I experience this delightful impression of having entered a bubble that has remained intact. I’m a passing, privileged visitor;  maybe I’m the ghost come to haunt the living? The floor squeaks at each of my steps,  take care, I’m not far.

The fire crackles in the heart of the fireplace , while faces of the portraits seem to be observing me, tick-tock, tick-tock… Here is on a chair M.Jervis’s wig, here lay his wife’s dress and  corset, a glass still half-full, an open personal diary, has the ink even dried? The bed is unmade, the sheets seem to emanate the heat of the bodies that were still resting there a few hours ago. Suddenly my nostrils quiver. My body invites me to remember. Here is a smell that I had not smell since my childhood. But where does it come from? A scent of an old candy store mixed with varnished wood, wax, and candied fruits. I smile in silence, closing my eyelids, secretly savouring my Madeleine de Proust.

Suddenly the carillon of the clock  brings me back to me. Oh a cat ! Impressive, it seems so much to be real. I approach it not without finching. Mister the Cat breathes for real and moves his little elastic body. No doubt that he’s master of the place.

“You see, or you don’t”

Here is the motto of Dennis Severs’ house which is delicately recalled to us through a few notes during our visit. Indeed, if this visit offers a visual delight it’s most of all an experience, a feeling, it’s not an invitation to cross the mirror but the framework of a painting made by the Grand Masters. For the rest, let your imagination follows its path…


All information here:

"On a plusieurs vies dans une vie."

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