Visit to Benjamin Franklin’s House

On a chilly Saturday morning in early September, a group of 10 Liverymen and their guests gathered outside a discreet Georgian house in Craven Street, near Charing Cross station in London.
 
This is the only remaining home of American born Dr. Benjamin Franklin, a tallow chandler’s son, printer by trade, who was sent to London for a six month diplomatic mission, but whose extended stay lasted 16 years between 1757 and 1775.
 
An Historical Experience Tour of the house explains how he used his time in London to pursue his interests in science and philosophy whilst undertaking his duties as a colonial agent.
 
“Polly”, his landlady’s daughter, guided the group through the house where each room was a different stage set. Polly interacted with pre-recorded audio and film clips to give a flavour of how Franklin lived his life in London. His diverse interests ranged from his ability to harness electricity from a lightening strike, using a silk kite and key, to inventing the glass armonica musical instrument, which must have made him an interesting, but challenging, tenant. 
 
The tour ended with a demonstration on a replica glass armonica, an example of which featured in the recent film Mr. Holmes. Some group members were able to show off their musical prowess, with varying degrees of success.
 
As an aside, Franklin had argued that a man’s arm, when bent, is the perfect length to guide a glass of wine to the lips. This theory was successfully tested over lunch at The Palm Court Brasserie in Covent Garden.

 
 
 
 
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