Christmas past: the charm of Dennis Severs’ House, London

A Spitalfields townhouse that immerses visitors in the 18th and 19th centuries is at its most magical at Christmas

The hubbub of Liverpool Street station and Spitalfields Market is only a few hundred metres away but on the doorstep of 18 Folgate Street not much is stirring. There is only intermittent noise: the roar of Christmas revellers as the doors to the Water Poet pub opposite open and close. It is 4.58pm and having rat-a-tatted a brass knocker on the door, I’m waiting to be granted entrance to Dennis Severs’ House for a 5pm tour. The Grade II-listed Georgian terrace is a wonderful curio, offering a perspective on family life in 18th- and 19th-century London. But more than that – it’s a work of art that seems to delight, challenge and perplex visitors in equal measure.

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