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past Events 2010

Children's Christmas Party
Saturday 18 December, 11am-2pm
With Christmas just around the corner, children discovered the magic of the holiday, 18th century style, with traditional carols, crafts and treats.
Kid's Party

Front Door Annual Friends and Neighbours Christmas Party
Tuesday 14 December, 6pm
We celebrated the festive season with our Craven Street Friends and neighbours. We enjoyed a glass or two of our homemade mulled wine and mince pies in the great British tradition!
(Open only to Friends of the House and residents of Craven Street, WC)

Thanksgiving Dinner
Thursday 25 November, 7.30pm-10pm
The Butchers' Hall, 87 Bartholomew Close, London EC1A 7EB A magnificent, American Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings took place at London’s famed Butcher’s Hall. The Benjamin Franklin House Thanksgiving dinner featured a traditional American meal of turkey, dressing, vegetables, and of course, pumpkin pie!  What distinguished our Thanksgiving feast is that rather than a British Christmas dinner served a month early, all the food had been cooked according to time-tested American recipes. 

Turkey dinner

Georgian Crafts
Tuesday 26 October, 11am and 2pm
As the days get darker and the nights draw in, children discovered how Georgian children entertained themselves through the long winter nights. We made 18th century toys, including whirligigs and button pulls, stringed cat’s cradles, dolls and balls.

shh logo

London Shh...'Ahead of Their Time' Event- part of The Story of London Festival 2010
Tuesday 5 October, 6-9pm
London Shh... hosted an evening of hands-on activities on Tuesday 5 October 6-9pm at Benjamin Franklin House for The Story of London festival 2010- a celebration of London’s past, present and future. Visitors were invited to discover the innovations of some of London’s most famous former residents. Representatives from each of the seven London Shh…houses presented their former residents’ groundbreaking ideas, inventions, works of art and music which helped shape our capital's future.  Activities including arts and crafts, experiments, talks by specialists and quizzes were available for all to try in the beautiful setting of an atmospheric Grade I listed Georgian House. The evening was an ideal opportunity to uncover some of the capital's most innovative residents and their historic houses over a socialable after work drink. The event was funded by Renaissance London.

Find out more about London Shh... here.

Story of London Logo

Lady Reid Lecture
Franklin and Interiors
Wednesday 29 September, 6.30pm
Franklin provides a description of 36 Craven Street's interiors in the Craven Street Gazette, his amusing tale of life with his surrogate London family that included landlady Margaret Stevenson, daughter Polly and Polly’s husband, surgeon William Hewson.  Franklin made a mark on spaces in the Georgian terrace house, including by installing a prototype Franklin Stove, which remains.  From 1764, he began instructing his wife in letters on building a house on Philadelphia's Market Street, influenced by his observations in England.


Annual Symposium in association with the Eccles Centre and Professor Brian Cox
Monday 20 September, 6.30pm

LOCATION: The British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB.
Organised in partnership with the Royal Society as part of its 350th anniversary celebrations in 2010

Professor Brian Cox, particle physicist and Royal Society Fellow, has a pulse on modern physics as well its historic roots.  In his address, he shared his expertise as a member of both the High Energy Physics group at the University of Manchester and the ATLAS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Brian Cox

London Open House Weekend
Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September
London Open House Weekend celebrates the city’s incredible architecture.  This exciting annual event opens the doors of some of London’s most interesting buildings to the public, including Grade 1, 1730s Benjamin Franklin House. Guided tours took place throughout the day.
Open House Day

Polly Hewson Georgian Life Revealed!
Every Tuesday in August, 11am and 2pm
Mrs Polly Hewson, daughter of Franklin’s landlady, shared details of everyday life in Georgian London and the grander events in Franklin’s London household. She reveaedl some of the House’s atmospheric spaces, and visitors will also gain insight into Franklin’s famous electrical experiment which tamed the awesome power of lightning.

Festival of British Archaeology
Tuesday 27 July, 11am and 2pm
Children will discover the House’s fascinating archaeological history.  They will discover why human bones were found in the basement and the story they tell about the history of medicine. Led by archaeologist and House Education Manager, Sally Brewer.
£5 per child, free for adults

London Shh... Summer Garden Party!
Thursday 15 July, 6pm-9pm
With summer well and truly here the London Shh... gardens are looking stunning!  To celebrate, as well as to do some much needed fundraising, London Shh... invited supporters to a special evening of entertainment in the garden at Freud’s House. Tickets included a free glass of Pimms and yummy nibbles. . .
Music Lady Reid Lecture
Franklin and 18th Century Music
Thursday 8 July, 6.30pm
In addition to his London pursuits related to invention, politics, and letters, Franklin also applied his creativity to music.  He played the harp and violin and attended concerts, at which he first heard music played on wineglasses.  Franklin, ever the innovator, subsequently created his glass armonica, for which Mozart and Beethoven and many others composed.  Franz Mesmer used it in his treatment of patients and Franklin eventually was asked to pass judgment on whether Mesmer was a healer or a fraud.

Independence Day Party
Thursday 1 July, 6.30pm
Many guests joined us for a celebration of Independence Day at Benjamin Franklin House. Everyone enjoyed cake and a glass of bubbly in the world’s only remaining Franklin home.
Independence Day

Annual Benjamin Franklin House Science Fair
Tuesday 29 June, 11am
Science Fair allowed children to develop skills associated with scientific enquiry, fundamental to helping them become autonomous thinkers and creative problem solvers.  They were encouraged to develop their own responses to problems Franklin considered at Craven Street, such as how to get more heat from less fuel.  Young people created and displayed their own experiments at in-school Science Fairs, with winning entries going forward to this end of year gathering. 

Franklin and the Iroquois Nation
Monday 28 June, 1pm
Sally Brewer, House Education Manager, discussed the impact of the Iroquois Nation of North America on Franklin and the other US Founding Fathers.  Native American society has often been portrayed as simplistic or basic, but in fact the Iroquois had a well-developed system of representative government which influenced American political philosophy.
Iroquois Wood Carving

Candied Thinking Science Tea Party
Monday 21 June, 6pm-8pm
Many joined us for a Candied Thinking tea party to talk about science. Benjamin Franklin was a celebrated scientist and polymath. He, like many before and since, sought to understand and uncover nature’s greatest mysteries. We considered over a cup of tea or two the question: “What role does the pursuit of scientific understanding play in modern life?”    

Read the Candied Thinking blog here.

Musical Soiree in association with the Concordia Foundation
Thursday 3 June, 7.30pm
We hosted a lyrical evening in keeping with Franklin’s love of music in association with our Craven Street neighbours, the Concordia Foundation, which serves young musicians. The Piatti String Quartet performed the ‘Benjamin Franklin Suite’ said to be written by the great man himself, and other Franklin-era pieces.

Georgian Sports Day
Tuesday 1 June, 11am and 2pm
The summer Sports Day, aimed at 6-11 year olds, featured 18th century games at the House – Blind Man’s Buff, marbles, quoits and leapfrog. .


Benefit Concert for Benjamin Franklin House- 18th Century Music and Beyond
Monday 17 May, 7.45pm
LOCATION: Steiner Theatre, Regent's Park, London NW1 6XT
Talented young soprano Judith Charron was joined by Paul Vialard on cello, and Andrew Robinson on piano, for an evening of 18th century music and more, including songs by Handel, Verdi, and Debussy, as well as Gluck and Donizetti, who both composed for Franklin's ingenious glass armonica. Judith, born and raised in Paris, holds a Masters of French Literature, and attended the Conservatoire de Paris (CNR), where she performed with maestros like L.Equilbey, P.Boulez and B.Levy. She studies with Michel Vallat (Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal Opera House). Her repertoire as a solist includes works among others by Handel, Mozart, Faure, and Vivaldi.

Caleb Whitefoord 1734-1810 – The Man who made Peace with North America
Monday 17 May, 12.30pm
Dr David Allan is the Historian of the RSA and Honorary President of the William Shipley Group for RSA History. For over fifty years he has lectured and written extensively on aspects of the Society’s’ history, including Benjamin Franklin’s connection, and continues to be active in highlighting the activities of both the institution and its members.

Museums and Galleries at Night- The Craven Street Bones
Sunday 16 May, 8pm and 9pm
Over 40 guests visited Benjamin Franklin House at night and experienced the shadows of the beautiful Georgian building as Franklin did before you. They discovered the story of Franklin’s London years and the building's rich history, before enjoying a glass of wine in the basement and hearing the tale of the Craven Street bones, many of which still remain.

Museums and Galleries at Night- Late Night Historical Experience
Saturday 15 May, 6.15pm and 7.15pm
We welcomed nearly 40 visitors to see the celebrated Historical Experience at night – live interpretation and sound and visual projection revealed the uncertainty and excitement of Franklin’s London years. Shows began at 6.15pm and 7.15pm.

The City Museum and the Museum City

Location: Adam Street Private Members' Club, 9 Adam Street, London WC2N 6AA
Thursday 29 April, 6.30pm
Fullbright scholar Eric Sandweiss will highlight his recent research on urban museums, today asked to take on more than just preserving local history.  They are increasingly expected to spark urban revivals.  He will consider the intertwined history of cities and museums in the US and UK, asking how history and memory can coexist with cities' unstoppable need for change.

Blood Under the Microscope: William Hewson, 18th century anatomist
Tuesday 20 April, 1pm
LOCATION: The Hunterian Museum located inside The Royal College of Surgeons of England, 35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3PE
Tania Kausmally, a PhD candidate affiliated with Benjamin Franklin House, has been studying William Hewson (1739-1774), considered the father of haematology.  Hewson married Polly Stevenson, daughter of Franklin’s landlady, and ran an anatomy school from Craven Street. At a time when many researchers questioned the validity of the microscope in scientific research, he understood it was this instrument alone that could reveal the essential properties of blood.
Audience members can take a free tour of Benjamin Franklin House on Monday 26 April at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3.15pm or 4.15pm
Free- booking required

Reception in association with Chevening
Tuesday 13 April, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Chevening Letter

Benjamin Franklin House was proud to host a reception in association with Chevening, the country home of the UK Foreign Secretary. The evening reception in Franklin’s Parlour featured a letter Franklin wrote from that very room in honour of William Pitt, the Elder.

Easter Week Kids Days: The Craven Street Bones
Tuesday 6 April and Tuesday 13 April, 11am and 2pm
36 Craven Street was not just home to Benjamin Franklin.  Anatomist William Hewson, also lived here and ran an anatomy school from the premises after his marriage to Polly, daughter of Franklin’s landlady in 1770.  During restoration, over 1200 bones, the gruesome by-products of his trade, were uncovered.  Children found out more about this darker side of Franklin’s London, in the knowledgeable hands of trained archaeologist and House Education Manager, Sally Brewer.


Franklin and his Craven Street Gazette
Monday 22 March, 1pm
Founding Director, Dr Márcia Balisciano explored the real and the fictional in Franklin's Craven Street Gazette, his charming tale of life at his London lodgings.

National Science & Engineering Week
Saturday 20 March, Drop in between 11am – 3pm
In honour of Franklin, the science innovator, visitors enjoyed a free open day, suitable for all ages. The 2010 theme was earth: children discovered Franklin’s studies of water and movement and explored the Midden of Mystery in the courtyard to uncover some of the secrets the earth has kept for centuries.
Science Logo

Lady Reid Lecture
Franklin in Portraiture
Wednesday 10 March, 6.30pm
During his long years in London, Franklin sat for many portraits including the famous likeness painted by David Martin in 1766, commissioned by Scottish merchant and Franklin friend, Robert Alexander.  The talk looked at what this portrait and others of the period 'said about Franklin and encompassed Franklin's connection to 18th century London art - including as a member of the Royal Society of Arts, Commerce and Manufacture - and artists like Benjamin West, who himself had ties to Pennsylvania.



English National Ballet Workshop – Polly’s Pasttimes
Tuesday 16 February 2010, 10.30am
A collaborative workshop with the English National Ballet to bring the social whirl of Georgian London to life: fashion, music and of course dance. 


Poor Richard's Almanack and How Franklin Perfected the Genre
Monday 25 January 2010, 1pm

Sally James, House Administrator, discussed how Franklin created a best seller by updating a tried and true literary form. Between 1733 and 1758 Franklin published ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack’ annually under the pseudonym Richard Saunders. The almanacks contained a blend of weather forecasts, proverbs, and astrological predictions.

Pre 2010 Events