Benjamin Franklin House
Home pageAbout Benjamin Franklin HouseAbout benjamin FranklinSupportEducationNewsVisitShopContact


Support the Project


N ews - 2014

Reflections on the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute by Hena Patel, Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Debate Winner 2014

Hena Patel, a former student at Seven Kings High School in Newham, has shared with us her thoughts on the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute. Hena won her place at the Institute, where she joined over 40 other young people from around the world, through her excellent performance at our annual Debate Competition, held at the US Embassy, London, in March 2014. The Institute allows teenagers from different countries to explore their shared principles and challenges.  Students participate in educational trips to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. as well as classes, workshops and civic engagement activities.

Any teachers interested in having their students take part in the 2015 Debate Competition, or wishing more information, should contact House Education Manager Stephen Wilson at

Winner Hena Patel, far right, is congratulated by US Ambassador Matthew Barzun at a special reception held at Benjamin Franklin House

Posted 25 November 2014


2014 Annual Symposium in association with the Eccles Centre for American Studies

As our 2014 Symposium speaker, Alan Rusbridger, Editor-in-Chief of Guardian News & Media, shared his views on freedom of the press. During his editorship the paper has fought a number of high-profile battles over press freedom and libel, including cases involving Neil Hamilton, Jonathan Aitken, the Police Federation, Trafigura, and Wikileaks. The Guardian broke world exclusive stories by publishing NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

Listen to Alan Rusbridger's talk

Posted 25 November 2014



Visit by Retired NASA Astronaut

We were very excited to welcome Rear Admiral Stephen Oswald, a retired NASA astronaut, to the Student Science Centre.  He observed a visit by children from London’s Lycee Francais Charles de Gaulle and spoke to them about his experiences in outer space and the value of studying STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering, and math. Audio of Rear Admiral Oswald’s discussion with the children can be heard here. With appreciation to our partners at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library for making the visit possible.

Retired astronaut Stephen Oswald captivates children with his memories of space travel.

Posted 25 November 2014




We are delighted to announce that the Benjamin Franklin House Science Fair has been accredited with a CREST Star by the British Science Association. Science Fair challenges pupils to develop their own responses to problems Franklin considered at Craven Street, such as how to get more heat from less fuel. Science Fair thus enables children to solve science, technology, engineering and maths problems through practical investigation, in line with the aims of the CREST Star scheme. CREST Star is used in over 3000 primary schools across the UK. Teachers interested in taking part in Science Fair should contact House Education Manager Stephen Wilson at


Benjamin Franklin House featured on US National Public Radio’s Your Weekly Constitutional

Stewart Harris, host of Your Weekly Constitutional and Professor of Law at Appalachian School of Law, paid a visit to Benjamin Franklin House in August. He discovered Franklin’s glass armonica, invented in the House, and conversed with Director Dr. Márcia Balisciano about why Franklin came to London and stayed so long.  Listen to the podcast in which he highlights the House’s significance for British and American history.

Benjamin Franklin: the Last American Englishman



Sandford Award

Sandford Award

We are delighted to announce we have received a 2014 Sandford Award from the Heritage Education Trust for our free schools programme. The Sandford Award is an independently judged, quality assured assessment of education programmes at heritage sites, museums, archives and collections across the British Isles. More than 350 sites – including historic houses, museums, galleries, and more – have received an Award since the scheme began in 1978. This marks the second time Benjamin Franklin House has received a Sandford Award since opening in 2006.

Lead Judge Caroline Marcus commented: “Benjamin Franklin House will enhance pupil’s historical knowledge and understanding while stimulating their scientific curiosity. Taking part in an exciting scientific demonstration, travelling back in time with Polly who lived here during the 18th century, discovering buried bones from an anatomy school, dressing up, playing computer games and handling objects from Franklin’s home are just some of the activities in store that makes this historic home come to life and inspire you by understanding Franklin’s many achievements”.

To take part in our award-winning schools programme, contact House Education Manager Stephen Wilson at or call +44(0) 207 839 2013.

Posted 31 July 2014



Cartoonist Adrian Teal to enter the ArtPrize

British cartoonist, Adrian Teal, will be entering the 2014 ArtPrize competition taking place in Grand Rapids, Michigan USA. This annual competition attracts artists from around the world. Adrian will draw on inspiration from his home town, Ecton in Northamptonshire, which is the resting place of Thomas Franklin - Benjamin's uncle. For the prize he will produce an artwork to measure six by nine feet entitled The Great Seal (see below). The piece will be 'a gigantic caricature that incorporates the fascinating history of some of America’s most important and recognizable national emblems, and the people who helped forge them.' He will complete his painting at the Holland Museum in Michigan and hopes to set up a webcam with a live feed so we can see his progress! Benjamin Franklin House and Sulgrave Manor will be cheering Adrian on.


Read Adrian's first blog post about his entry here.

Posted 29 April 2014



Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Debate Competition in association with the US Embassy London

On 12 March 2014, students from 7 London schools including Burntwood School, Ernest Bevin College, and Sarah Bonnell School, took part in the annual Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Debate Competition in association with the US Embassy London.  They debated motions including 'This House believes that the legal voting age should be lowered to 16' and 'This House believes that Scotland should be an independent country'. The winner, Henna Patel from Seven Kings High School, will take part in the Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina this summer.  She will join students from across the US and Europe to explore American culture and politics and learn about the opportunities and challenges of civil society. Thanks to the British Youth Council, the Hansard Society, Royal Holloway University and Breslin Public Policy for providing their expertise as guest judges. All participants will be invited to a summer reception at Benjamin Franklin House.

Debate Winner 2-14 with judges

Winner Henna Patel with judges James Cathcart and Lisa George

Posted 18 March 2014



Review of 'The Bridge That Tom Built'

Writer and performer, Dominic Allen, offered his version of the biography of Thomas Paine in a dynamic monologue, The Bridge That Tom Built, which ran from 31 January to 1 February at the Vaults in London.

Both funny and captivating, Allen highlighted some of the best-known aspects of Paine’s life such as his writing of Common Sense, while also showcasing some of the lesser-known events of Paine’s life, including his visit to 36 Craven Street. With just a few props, Allen provided insight into some of the most important characters of the day including George Washington, Robespierre, Louis XVI, and of course, Benjamin Franklin. The Bridge That Tom Built spotlighted Enlightenment ideals of civic virtue and liberty in a refreshingly, contemporary way.

By Tara Sutin, House Weekend Supervisor

Posted 12 February 2014


Impressions of America by James Heale, Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Debate Winner 2013

Since returning from the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Summer Institute, James Heale, a former Sixth Form student from Kingston Grammar School, has shared with us his Impressions of America. James won his place at the Institute, joining over 50 other secondary school students from around the world, for his strong performance at our annual Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Debate Competition in March 2013.  The Institute allows teenagers from different countries to explore their shared principles and challenges.  Students participate in educational trips to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., as well as classes, workshops and civic engagement activities.

Winner James Heale

Left to right: Monique Quesada, Cultural Attaché at the US Embassy London, with winner James Heale.

Posted 10 February 2014



A New Play About Thomas Paine: 'The Bridge That Tom Built' by Dominic Allen and directed by Joe Hufton

Dominic Allen (Belt Up Theatre's Outland) brings Thomas Paine back from the dead to tell his incredible story; the pirate who invented America, the corset maker that inspired the French Revolution and the ordinary man who built an extraordinary bridge. This gripping solo show takes you from Norfolk street to American battlefield, from London pub to Parisian jail, from ship to shore in a remarkable adventure. 

See the play at the Vaults in Waterloo, London on 31 January and 1 February 2014, 9pm. For more information and booking tickets read here.

Posted 30 January 2014



House 8th and Franklin 308th Birthday Celebration

On 17 January 2014 we celebrated Benjamin Franklin’s 308th birthday and the 8th anniversary of the opening of Benjamin Franklin House to the public as a dynamic museum and educational facility. Thank you to our supporters, visitors, and volunteers!

FranklinHouse Party

Posted 18 January 2014

News Archive - 2006

News Archive - 2005

Countdown to Opening

To find out more, or book a place for an event, please call 020 7839 2006 or email


Twitter Updates

    Follow BFH on Twitter