Time Travelling at Dennis Severs' House | SC Exhibitions
|The Dickens Room within Dennis Severs’ House |
© Roelof Bakker
Folgate Street is like many others in the Spitalfields area of London – a row of Georgian houses, a lively pub, already filling by 5pm, a hotel – but probably unknown to many of the workers in this busy district is that it’s also home to one of the city’s most unique attractions: Dennis Severs’ House. This isn’t their fault; the reason they’re probably unaware is because the house is unmarked – there’s no information sign or gift shop, just a black door with an elaborate knocker, and a large flickering lantern above. Like arriving at a friend’s house, I turned up at the appointed time, was greeted and let in, but as I stepped over the threshold, the centuries began to rewind. In a matter of seconds, I passed from the 21st century back into the 18th.
The door closed behind me, and my senses adapted to my new surroundings. Leading off from the dimly-lit entrance corridor, tempting rooms, decked out in period furniture and decorations, flickered in candlelight and were warmed by crackling fires. I could now hear the faint sound of horses and carriages outside. The floorboards creaked with every step – the wood was worn and used. In the near silence, the ticking of clocks and the occasional ringing of bells became banging drums. Shadows were everywhere – and darkness too. The only remains of the modern world were the clothes worn by myself and the other visitors. But for long stretches of time I found myself alone, and in those moments, staring ahead, the house’s spell and illusion felt authentic , immediate, real – it was the past in a way that I’d never experienced before.
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