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News - 2015

This summer Benjamin Franklin House is launching its newest public offering - The Walking Tour!

Close by his only surviving home at 36 Craven Street are places of national and historic importance such as the Palace of Westminster, Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, and the Royal Society of Arts.  But what are the Franklin connections?

Starting from Benjamin Franklin House, each Wednesday at 10:30, participants can discover them in our new fun and informative walking tour. 

For example, stopping at the edge of the River Thames, they will learn that a brave young Franklin swam from Blackfriars toward Chelsea, performing in his own words "many feats of activity, both upon and under water," in contrast to today’s Londoners, who would be reticent to do likewise.  They will also discover traces of a pre-Embankment Thames, gaining insight even if they are already a London expert.

To make a booking please contact Braena Sykes, Operations Manager by email or by telephone 020783 92006. Walking Tours cost 5.00 per adult, no concessions apply. Under 16s are invited to take part free of charge.

Posted 9 July 2015


We are delighted to announce that our Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge has been renewed for 2015-17, in recognition of our excellent school visit programme. The Quality Badge is a national accreditation combining the essential elements of provision - learning and safety - into one easily recognisable and trusted accreditation scheme for all types of learning outside the classroom providers in the UK, including museums, art galleries, adventure centres, nature reserves, science learning centres and farms among many others. For more information on our award-winning programme, click here.

Posted 5 May 2015


Science and Nature

Martyn Walker, member of the House’s Digital Advisory Group (helping us plan our next digital projects), took this photo during a recent walk in Kew Gardens.  The lightning rod and spring bough reminded him of the connection between Franklin and Joseph Banks, Kew’s Founder.  Good friends, both men shared a passion for science and nature!

Posted 20 March 2015


Good debating: Annual competition with US Embassy London and English Speaking Union encourages students to hone their skills

On 13 March 2015, students from 11 London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Coventry, and Bradford schools took part in the annual Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Debate Competition in association with the US Embassy London and the English Speaking Union.  They debated motions including 'This House believes tax avoidance is immoral' and 'This House believes that it is possible to both protect privacy and ensure security.'  Students argued for and against the motions, providing as much evidence as possible to prove their cases.  The judges were impressed by their ability to reason and communicate effectively.  The debating skills they have developed will serve them well in their studies and longer term.

Guest of honour, US Ambassador Matthew Barzun, presided at the closing ceremony recognising the day’s winners.  First place finisher, Sam Nicholls from St Cecilia’s School in Wandsworth, and Runner-Up Tarini Vickneswaran from Seven Kings High School in Redbridge will take part in the Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina this summer.  Joining students from across the US and Europe, they will explore American culture and politics and opportunities for and challenges to civil society. All participants will be invited to a summer reception at Benjamin Franklin House. Many thanks to the US Embassy and the English Speaking Union for their partnership support and expertise.

Posted 20 March 2015


Remembering Sandy Chalmers – a great contributor to Benjamin Franklin House






Photo: The Telegraph

All at the House are greatly saddened by the loss of Sandy Chalmers, a former Governor of Benjamin Franklin House, who gave us so much of her time and wisdom. She passed away on 2 February 2015 aged 74.

Sandy played a key role on the Board advising on public relations and communications, particularly important in the run up to opening the House to the public for the first time on 17 January 2006.

She was a woman who broke new ground, serving in senior roles at the BBC both on air and in management.  During her stand out career, she became Editor of Radio 4 Women’s Hour while balancing raising a young family.  She went on to found and run her own public relations company, Chalmers Communications, and was active in many charitable organisations, of which Benjamin Franklin House was one.  She is survived by her son Richard, daughter Becky, and five grandchildren. 

Sandy was warm and delightful, kind and thoughtful to all.  We will miss her greatly and remember her legacy: you can achieve a lot with clear vision and calm determination.

Posted 10 March 2015


Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Debate Competition 2015

Our fifth annual Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Debate Competition will be held on Friday 13 March at Dartmouth House, home of the English Speaking Union, and at the US Embassy, London. Upper secondary school students will be debating the following motions as they compete for a place at the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute at Wake Forest University, North Carolina, and Purdue University, Indiana:

      This House would allow online voting in General Elections

      Benjamin Franklin believed that “there is no such thing as a good war or a bad peace.” This House believes that there is no such thing as a good war

      This House believes that tax avoidance is immoral

      Benjamin Franklin believed that “there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered.” This House supports the right to recall MPs

The teams who progress to the Final ‘Ambassador’s Debate’ of the Competition will debate ‘balancing human rights,’ however they won’t know the exact details of the motion until 30 minutes prior to the debate!

We would like you to get involved! Send us a tweet to @BFHouse with your thoughts on any of the motions using the hashtag #benfranklindebate and we will retweet where possible. We will also be live-tweeting throughout the day using this hashtag, so be sure to follow us at @BFHouse and our partners @USAinUK and @theESU. 


Posted 10 March 2015


House 9th and Franklin 309th Birthday Celebration

On 16 January 2015 we celebrated Benjamin Franklin’s 309th birthday and the 9th 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 10 March 2015


News Archive - 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


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