Thursday, 3 January 2013

Spitalfields....hidden gems...

Having been summoned to London between Christmas and New Year to see my son's new flat, ( and also to wield a paintbrush and roller ) I managed to fit in a little sightseeing in the East End.

Somewhere I have read about HERE and have always wanted to visit ....Spitalfields.

Fine 17th and 18th century town houses whose history spans the Hugenot and Irish silk weavers to the notorious slums of Victorian London inhabited by Jewish immigrants. 

Now modernised and enjoyed by a new generation.... save one... The Dennis Severs' House in Folgate Street.... where time has stood still.

Entering the house from the street requires adjustment, as your eyes accustom themselves to the darkness.

Lit only by candlelight and fires in the ten rooms...your journey starts in complete silence on the ground floor and cellar, winding your way to the top of the house, taking in the smell of wood smoke, food and musty damp in the attic.

As no photographs are allowed in the property, I have linked to The Dennis Severs flickr page so you can get the idea of life re created in an 18th century Spitalfields house. However, these well lit photographs do not do justice to the real experience in the gloomy candlelight.

Theatrical room sets of unmade beds, collapsed ceilings, chamber pots full of urine add to a magical and very different house tour. 
Certainly worth the queue on a Sunday afternoon....

After a quick visit to The Spitalfields Market, I ventured onto Fournier Street,

And directly opposite Christ Church,

I found a fabulous shop....Town House

Full of interesting, quirky, decorative and useful pieces...set in a classic Spitalfields house with logs burning in the stove, creating a warm welcome to those who enter.

Down the stairs and into the kitchen,

Cosy and inviting.....

Coffee and cake was on the menu,

Good coffee and homemade lemon drizzle cake served by a charming Scotsman... Murray, who told me about the shop, its talented owner who spends time between France and London and the history of the area.

It is also possible to stay at The Town House for weekend breaks or longer.....HERE
What a great base to explore London in an old building, surrounded by antiques yet with luxury, modern facilities.

Thank you Murray for your nice to meet you!

Julie x


  1. I too have been reading Spitalfields Life for the past year. I would make a bee line for the same places you visited. Thanks for sharing your tour.
    Happy New Year!

  2. What a wonderful Winter treat! I haven't a son in London yet, though one is thinking of moving there, so we may have to try The Town House. The Landmark Trust also has a house you can stay in on Princelet Street.

  3. What an interesting few days you had Julie. Fascinating insight into days gone by. I love The Town House, and cake!! what a lovely place to stay for a break in London. jayne x

  4. You always find the hidden gems.............. I think it's your designer eye!!

  5. Yes, I agree with the above comment, you always find something special! It looks so inviting!

    All my best wishes for a very good and healthy 2013!

    Warmest greetings,

  6. I read this post whilst quietly eating breakfast this morning - loved it so much I then went and read about the house and the American who made it happen. So thank you.

    Thank you also for your lovely comment about my curtains.

    Happy New year to you.

    Diane. x

  7. all looks so fabulous. I have t go!

  8. Lucky you, I have always wanted to visit this house but never gor round to it. I'm enjoying reading all the links too.
    Ruth x

  9. I love this post so very much. I always cut through Spittlefields to the Columbia road flowers market on a Sunday. I think the story's of the area are amazing especially the textile workers. Hope you are well.
    Hugs Lynn xxx