Happy Halloween my dear friends!
Today I wanted to share with you a home located in London that is high on my bucket list of places to visit.
Is is an enchanting Georgian terraced home located at 18 Folgate Street Spitalfields, London, England.
Spitalfields is located in the East End area of London. Beginning in 1685 several French refugees settled in the area after receiving the Edict of Fontainebleau which was issued by Louis XIV. The edict revoked the previous Edict of Nantes (1598) which had given the Huguenots (French Protestants) the right to practice their religion without persecution from the state. The Edict of Fontainebleau ordered all Huguenot churches and schools to be closed or destroyed. The Huguenots were also ordered to convert to Catholicism. As a result hundreds of thousands of French citizens left France seeking asylum in other countries.
Christ Church, Spitalfields
At the time the area was outside of London as the French refugees hoped to avoid the restrictions of the City Councils. Most of the Huguenots literally fled with just the clothes on their backs. But they had tremendous skill in the area of silk weaving. This proved to be a very lucrative skill indeed for those who had settled here.
By the late 18th century the area was filled with well appointed terraced houses and mansions which surrounded Spital Square. As the silk industry died the city fell into a deep decay that lasted for decades. Thankfully Spitalfields has recently been revitalized by the Spitalfields Trust, who saw the value in saving the area from urban blight.
In 1979, when the area was still questionable, an American, Dennis Severs, moved into the dilapidated property on Folgate Street . It had no electricity or running water.
He set about restoring ten rooms inside the house. Each room is decorated in a different historic design style from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The rooms were arranged as if the owners, members of the fictional Jervis family, have just left each room moments before your arrival.
There are displays such as half-eaten bread as well as different smells and background sounds for each room.
Mr. Severs referred to the scenes in the rooms as “still life drama”. It is indeed an art installation that lives out the lives of occupants that are said to not truly exist.
The attention to detail is astonishing.
Some of the rooms are opulently furnished as befitting a silk merchant.
Other rooms indicate that the family fortune has begun to dwindle.
For me this would be the ultimate ghost story to experience.
Mr. Severs generously bequeathed his home to the Spitalfields Trust shortly before his death in 1999. It is open to the public and run by his friend, curator Mick Pedroli.
The motto of the home is “Aut Visum Aut Non” (You either see it or you don't).
Part I of a brilliant BBC program.
I see it. Do you?