Dennis Severs’ House

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites Spitalfields
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(13user reviews)
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Dennis Severs’ House is a time capsule attraction in which visitors are immersed in a unique form of theatre. The ten rooms of this original Huguenot house have been decked out to recreate snapshots of life in Spitalfields between 1724 and 1914. An escorted tour through the compelling ‘still-life drama’, as American creator Dennis Severs put it, takes you through the cellar, kitchen, dining room, smoking room and upstairs to the bedrooms. With hearth and candles burning, smells lingering and objects scattered apparently haphazardly, it feels as though the inhabitants had deserted the rooms only moments before. The Dennis Severs House tour is unsuitable for children as tours are conducted in silence.

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Posted:

Venue name: Dennis Severs’ House
Contact:
Address: 18
Folgate St
Spitalfields
London
E1 6BX
Opening hours: Mon 12pm-2pm, 5pm-9pm; Wed, Fri 5pm-9pm; Sun 12pm-4pm
Transport: Tube: Liverpool St
Price: £5–£10
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  • Walks and tours Sunday November 25 2018 - Friday January 4 2019

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

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LiveReviews|13
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1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

If you love history and all for immersive experiences, look no further than Dennis Sever's in the City close to Liverpool Street station. It's simply one the most immersive experience I've ever had.


Dennis Sever's is a time-capsule attraction where visitors are transported through time into an 18th century home. It not only provides a glimpse into life at Spitalfields in the 18th and 19th century, but it is also an intimate portrait of a family who may have lived there.


The tour is conducted completely in silence and the building is lit only by candlelights which cast dancing shadows along the walls and adds further to the eerie experience. Sadly, you cannot take pictures inside which is a bit of a shame but you can understand why. It would spoil the experience. 


What I loved about Dennis Sever’s House is the length which the artist had gone to recreate this 18th-century house. From the creaking floorboard, the hissing teapot on the hob, the warming fireplace, and the flickering candlelights, you really feel like you're in another century. 


What’s more, as you journey through the 10 rooms (cellar, basement, kitchen, bedroom and more) that are spread over 5 floors, you also receive different stimulations to your senses. You can smell the food in the basement kitchen, feel the dank air, hear the hustle and bustle of London outside, and even the ringing church bells. 


The experience is made even ever so real when you discover that Dennis Sever's immerses his visitors further by creating an imaginary family too, a family of silk-weavers named Jervis. Through half-eaten food, haphazardly placed objects, sprawling clothes, unmade bed sheet and flickering candlelight, he brings them to life in the best way possible. It really feels like the family who once lived here had only just left the house a few minutes ago.


This attraction may not be for the faint-hearted. At one point, I found myself completely alone in the attic room. With a chill in the air and dead silence around me, I could feel the ghosts of the inhabitants of the room I was in. It was haunting. 


It will feel strange coming out at the end of your visit. Spending an hour in another century, you’ll feel the strange sensation of seeing cars, skyscrapers and even light again.


Dennis Sever’s is the most immersive, quirkiest experience I’ve ever enjoyed and provide an incredible snapshot of life in Spitalfields in the 18th and 19th century. There is no place like it in London and one the best-hidden gems you’ll find in this city.


TIP: Dennis Sever's do not accept card so come with cash in hand. The best time to visit is Monday 12-2pm and Sunday 12-4pm when entrance is cheapest at £10 for an adult. Given how small the place is (and how popular), you'll probably be asked to wait. It won't be long and it will be worth it.

1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

I love this place, it's what London does so well. Old, historical, vintage and slightly bonkers! 


Dennis Severs was an artist. He acquired the house back in 1979 and lived there until his death in 1999. On finding the house, he envisioned a family of Huguenot silk weavers living there in the early 18th century and so started creating the house as he felt they would have lived, staging scenes in every room, filling the house with belongings, necessities and playthings of its imagined predecessors. 


He left hints of activity and clues as to what went on behind closed doors – but with every intention of throwing them open for visitors to enjoy.The rules of the house command silence as you walk around, viewing scenes of untold stories, which hint of more. Dennis Severs imagined the house as his canvas and, like a scene in a painting; the things beyond the frame are left to our imagination. This is the ‘art’; the journey in our mind that the house sets us off upon.


If you visit Dennis Severs House, be warned, you will want to come back. The sets - or stories or installations - however you see it – will draw you in like your most intoxicating dreams. If you allow yourself to really look and see the details you might even be lucky enough to feel transported to the very depths of the 18th century. To a warm kitchen filled with delicious treats, a fireplace in the drawing room full of promises of poetry - and stories of adventures past. Or feel the air of desperation in the sparse lodger’s quarters or the taste of hedonism hinted by the rumpled bed sheets and sumptuous dresser of the bedroom with half-drunk glasses of port.


It really is a unique experience to come here, switch off from the outside world and step inside a new time zone and let someone else's imagination tap into yours.....

1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Dennis Sever’s House lets you step back in time and experience the sights, sounds and atmosphere of what it would have been like to live in an east London weaver’s cottage a couple of centuries ago. I recently visited on a Sunday when the house was all decorated for Christmas. The weeks surrounding Christmas are the most popular time to visit, and even though I arrived 15 minutes after the house opened, I had to queue for 45 minutes before I was able to tour the house. It was definitely worth the wait! I think the thing that makes the experience so unique is that you are not allowed to talk when looking through the house. You're supposed to step back in time (this includes having your mobile on silent and not looking at it) and just take in the different scenes that greet you in each of the 10 rooms. The whole experience has a magical air to it.

tastemaker

I've been wanting to visit this house for a while, so read up on it before visiting as I was aware that the tour had to be done in silence.  So, with the history firmly in mind, I visited as part of a group and tried very hard to "immerse" myself into each room as suggested.  There is no doubt that it is a fascinating place, rooms decorated in 18th century style, some more opulent than others (the lodgers rooms at the top were not fit for human habitation) and each room full of "personal" objects befitting their occupants. I visited each room twice and indeed, saw things the second time that I had not previously noticed.  Every minute detail had been thought of.  There was even a broken cup and saucer on the floor to heighten the "reality".   Members of staff placed in rooms must have been there for security reasons - the one manager was the only person to ask questions of on the way out.  For me, the lack of personal interaction by staff was a big minus.  A description of the family, how they lived, how they used the objects in the house, before our tour would have enhanced my experience.  There were very few notices telling us what we were "experiencing". Some others in my group felt the same.  Others thought it was "fascinating".  So it wasn't just me.  

Tastemaker

If you've ever wondered what an 18th Century Silk weavers house looks like, or even if you haven't, upon entering Dennis Severs' House you're about to find out.

The scene has been set to emulate the sudden disappearance of the occupants, with the cupboards stocked, food still on the tables, the candles still burning and the smell of the times still waiting through the place.

The house is like a time capsule, but with a few out of place oddities of the previous owner and curator Dennis Severs' who lived in the property until 1999, when he passed away and left the house to be displayed in this manner.

It's a uniquely curious place and gives a real insight into London's rich history.


The most beautiful house of #London 😍 A taste of the opulent!! Vote for @DennisSeversHse at #LoveLondonAwards


Its so beautiful its breathtaking and wonderfully curated when you think of some of the tawdry touristy stuff around this feels and looks the real deal...im saving up to take my boyfriend and best friend at Christmas...to say the decorations are stunning is an understatement...its the best £10 you will spend anywhere in London on a Sunday...I was priveledged to meet Dennis a few times,what can i say ..Thank You xxx


The house is exquisite in that it takes you on a journey and you feel as though the family are with you, watching, teasing the way we speak, the clothes we wear. It's an emotional experience where time stands still.


Loved the house - what a unique place, unlike any museum I have been to before. Really fascinating and we easily spent 45 minutes in silence just staring at everything. Appeals very much to the nosey who like to look around how other people live, but with a time traveller twist. Only downsides are that other annoying people kept talking (please enforce the silence more severely); the signs around the house were patronising (yes, we are getting how this house works, stop telling us we don't); and some parts are a little shabby (you can tell the difference between period shabby and just things that have worn down through all the people staring at them). Overall, definitely a must see as there is not another place quite like this!


A unique experience and well worth the admission price. Difficult to describe (I said it was unique); it's a bit like your arrival has startled and scared away the ghosts of the Jervis's. The rooms aren't huge (a comment, not a criticism) like all similar houses so that limits numbers. However there's a lot to see and take in in each room and it's a visit best not rushed. If you visit I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Absolutely brilliant! A real piece of living history. The attention to detail is amazing, like stepping back 300 years. All museums should be done this way, if it were possible. Highly recommended.

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