Benjamin Franklin House

The Historical Experience at Benjamin Franklin House offers visitors a fascinating insight into the man who has often been called "the First American". Peter Gray reports.

The Historical Experience at Benjamin Franklin House

This delightful townhouse represents the last remaining home of the Great American statesman, scientist and philosopher Benjamin Franklin. The building is tucked away on a quiet street behind the Strand and it is so unprepossessing that it’s easy to miss. It’s well worth a visit however, if for no other reason than to see a perfectly preserved example of an 18th century Georgian terraced house.

The main attraction at the house is the Historical Experience. The attraction brings together historical fact, narrative drama and live performance in order to tell the story of Franklin’s life in Britain. The tour lasts approximately an hour and is presented by Franklin’s landlady (an actress in period dress). Within that period, much of the history and many of the secrets of Benjamin Franklin House are brought to life.

The House was built around 1730 as a lodging house with Franklin occupying the building from 1757-1762 and again from 1764-1775. Benjamin Franklin House is today a listed building with it’s Grade I status signifying it’s architectural and historic importance.

Franklin lived at the house in Craven Street for over 16 years. During this period the statesman worked as a colonial diplomat. However, his period in office ended during the run up to the War of Independence.

Even though he is chiefly known for his contribution to the founding of the American Republic, Franklin was a true renaissance man, capable of turning his hand to a variety of disciplines, including science, philosophy, journalism, writing and art.

Franklin was also a first rate inventor, who created, amongst other things, the lightning rod, glass harmonica, bifocal glasses and the Franklin stove.

The statesman also made a towering contribution to the development of physics with his work on electricity. Franklin was the first to label positive and negative electrical charges and he also introduced the world to the principle of conservation of charge.

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