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upcoming Events


To book for any event, please phone our box office +44 (0) 207 839 2006  or email Friends, students, and those over 65 are entitled to a concessionary rate.

Many of our events have a limited capacity so we advise booking in advance to avoid disappointment. For information about our events programme please email

Benjamin Franklin House Events 2018

Join us for fascinating Franklinesque events: from family workshops, to lectures and our annual 4th July party!




The Mesmerist: How Hypnotism came to Victorian London                                         
Thursday 29 March, 6.30pm

Best-selling author Wendy Moore will talk about her latest book, The Mesmerist: the society doctor who held Victorian London spellbound, which tells the story of John Elliotson, the esteemed Victorian physician who introduced hypnotism to London in 1837. Elliotson’s demonstrations on patients at University College Hospital drew hundreds of awed spectators and launched a mesmerism mania which swept the country. Wendy will show how the questions raised by these spectacles led to his ruin.

                      6/per person
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Family Day: Georgian Easter Celebration

Tuesday 3 April, 11am-12.30pm

Take part in a special Easter egg hunt inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s inventions and scientific work.

Suitable for children aged 5-11
2/ per child
Email  to book tickets

Filling the Grid: Benjamin Franklin’s Art of Moral Improvement in Historical Perspective

Thursday 5 April, 6:30pm

In his Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin famously recommends his ‘Art of Virtue’ to arrive at moral perfection. Franklin made an adjusted version of the cardinal virtues, and then used a grid-table in which he concentrated on one virtue per week, leaving the others “to their ordinary chance.” He was surprised how difficult this exercise was, but it also gave him the satisfaction of seeing his faults diminished. Harro Maas, professor of history and methodology of economics, will compare Franklin’s procedure with the Chinese so-called “ledgers of merit and demerit” of the late Ming dynasty and with the use of daily planners in the Victorian period to show how such instruments were designed to teach individuals to act prudently. Maas will briefly draw connections to the current interest in self-measurement, and in (dystopic) visions on social credit.

6/per person
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Franklin to Frankenstein

Monday 9 April, 6.30pm

In the latter half of the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin was perhaps the most famous commoner on earth. His experiments with electricity brought him world-wide acclaim, and no less than Goethe hailed him as “a modern Prometheus.” In January 1818, Mary Shelley published Frankenstein, and in doing so she created a myth that has lasted 200 years and promises to last even longer. There are other connections between Franklin and Frankenstein beyond electricity and the spark of life, including climate issues, which Professor David Guston, from Arizona State University, will explore.

  6/per person
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Family Day:  Spark your Curiosity

Tuesday 10 April, 11am-12.30pm

Join us for hands-on family fun exploring the wonders of electricity, including a demonstration of one of Ben Franklin’s most famous, and useful, inventions – the lightning rod! Children will be introduced to the basics of electricity through hands-on activities and demonstrations.

Most suitable for children aged 8-11 years old, though younger siblings are welcome     

      2 per child
  Email to book tickets


Fulbright Lecture

What Revolution/ Whose Revolution: Haiti and the US

Wednesday 18 April, 6.30pm

The climax of Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno climax speaks to a dominant discussion of the era: the relation and meaning of the Haitian Revolution to US democracy.  Throughout the early to mid-nineteenth century, popular texts obsessed over the Haitian Revolution. Dr. Maisha Wester will argue that the Revolution challenged the righteous and radical nature of the American Revolution.  Confronted with Haiti, Americans wondered if the new US democracy really was a rejection of colonial oppressions and systems; was their revolution complete?

6/per person
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Fulbright Lecture

Entangled Lives in Georgian Portraits

Thursday 10 May, 6.30pm

The Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray (1770s-1780s, Scone Palace) pictures two cousins together, one Afro-Scottish and the other Scottish and Polish. Their depiction offers a contrast: Dido is shown in an exoticised fashion, whereas Lady Elizabeth is portrayed as an English rose. Dido’s mother was enslaved and her father was an officer in the Royal Navy. Their portrait was painted against the backdrop of the two major slavery cases in the eighteenth-century – the Somerset Case of 1772 and the Zong Trial of 1783-1783, both of which their guardian and great-uncle, Lord Mansfield, presided over. Dr. Jennifer Germann will address the complexity of the portrait in light of conflicted ideas about liberty and slavery across the Atlantic world.  

6/per person
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Museums at Night – ‘Candle Lit’ Architectural Tours

Thursday 17 & Friday 18 May, 6pm, 7pm & 8pm

The atmospheric rooms of Benjamin Franklin’s only remaining residence will be the feature of this night-time architectural tour, highlighting the original features of our Grade I listed Georgian townhouse in evening light.

10/per person, drink included

Book tickets for:
Thursday May 17th       
Friday May 18th               


Indigenous London

Thursday 24 May, 6.30

Historian Coll Thrush offers a new and compelling view of London’s history through the lived experiences of indigenous women, children, and men who have travelled to the city, willingly or otherwise, since the beginning of the sixteenth century. They included captives and diplomats, missionaries and medicine people, poets and performers, athletes and sovereigns. Together, their stories illuminate a London that has until now largely been ignored: an imperial capital shaped in profound ways by its entanglements with indigenous peoples and places. Benjamin Franklin's own Craven Street is part of the story.

Image: America Meredith, London Calling 1762 (2012) 6/per person
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