Friday, January 13, 2006
Ben Franklin House to Open in London
Eighteen years ago, I found myself renovating the chimneys of an ante-bellum farm house in North Carolina. The first question the craftsmen asked was “Do you want Franklin or Rumford?” After which I was entertained with a dashing tale of competing fireplace technologies that ended when Count Rumford, a loyalist and designer of a shallow and highly efficient fireplace, had to high tale it back to Europe following the American Revolution, taking his design with him. Thus began my love affair with chimneys, fireplaces and stories involving Ben Franklin.
So it was with some excitement that I read recently that after an eight-year restoration, the London residence of Dr Benjamin Franklin and the only remaining Franklin home will open at 36 Craven Street on January 17, 2006, the date of Franklin’s 300th birthday.
Visitors to London’s newest museum will find a Historical Experience using live performance drama, lighting and projection technology to tell Franklin’s story during his time in London, a Student Science Centre and a Scholarship Centre. It was in this house that Franklin conducted numerous experiments including measuring the effects of the Gulf Stream (still a hot topic today), exploring Daylight Saving Time and inventing bifocal lenses.
I’m off to Paris next week, but if Ben Franklin’s house is half as interesting as Ben Franklin’s life as a scientist, diplomat, philosopher, inventor, Founding Father and more, the first thing I am going to do when I get back is to rush over and check it out.
Benjamin Franklin House
36 Craven Street
London WC2N 5NF
Tel: 44 (0)20 7930 9121
Fax: 44 (0)20 7930 9124
The house will be open from 10:00 – 5:00 Wednesdays through Sunday from February 2006
Closest tube stations are Charing Cross or Embankment
Picture courtesy of http://www.ushistory.org/