Benjamin Franklin House - Architectural Tour

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Benjamin Franklin House

What you'll do

Benjamin Franklin House is a museum dedicated to one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, situated in the London home he lived in for 16 years during the lead up to the American Revolution.

Enjoy access to Benjamin Franklin House Architectural Tour with The London Pass®

  • Pay nothing at the door, simply show your pass.
  • Take a tour of Benjamin Franklin House, the last remaining former home of Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father of the United States of America.
  • Take a detailed look at the Georgian features of the house, along with personal artefacts from its most famous inhabitant. 

Benjamin Franklin House is the last remaining former home of polymathic Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin. With many original features and a number of artefacts relating to its most famous inhabitant, the museum is viewable on a guided architectural tour.

Architectural tour

The Architectural tour explores the Georgian features of house, along with its fascinating history encompassing Franklin’s long residence (1757-1775), the Hewson anatomy school, and the comprehensive conservation project that saved it from dereliction.

Benjamin Franklin House history

36 Craven Street was built in the 1730s. In 1757, Benjamin Franklin arrived in London as an agent for the Pennsylvania Assembly and took up residence at the home on Craven Street. Ostensibly in London as a colonial diplomat, his polymathic interests and abilities took him far beyond his original remit whilst resident at 36 Craven Street. He developed his glass armonica instrument, ran multiple experiments on diverse subjects and wrote pamphlets, articles, historically significant letters and even the beginnings of his autobiography at the home. He departed for America in 1775, becoming one of the Founding Fathers of the United States upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

During the 20th Century, the home was turned into a hotel and space for non-profit organisations. The Friends of Benjamin Franklin House were granted the freehold to 36 Craven Street at the end of the century and had a large renovation job on their hands. During the building work, bones from multiple human and animal bodies were found under the floor of the home. Eventually, these were explained as remnants from a small anatomy school run by William Hewson, the son-in-law of Franklin’s landlady.

Benjamin Franklin House opened to the public on 17th January 2006, Franklin’s 300th birthday.

Benjamin Franklin House highlights

  • Take a tour of Benjamin Franklin’s home with expert guides 
  • Learn the history of the home and those that lived there before, after and during Franklin’s residence.
  • See original fixtures and fittings installed by Franklin, with some offering insight into the experiments and inventive nature of one of the American Enlightenment’s fiercest intellects.
  • Gain another perspective on a fascinating period of history, in the years leading up to the American Revolution.

Benjamin Franklin House facts

  • Benjamin Franklin became something of a fashion icon in France. When arriving in the country on a diplomatic mission, he chose to play on the French conception of Americans as outdoorsmen, wild and at the frontier of the world, by dressing plainly and wearing a big fur hat. They became his trademark. The women of Paris liked the style and began wearing oversized wigs to mimic the effect of Franklin’s hat.
  • Though known for his polymathic ways, Franklin was only included in formal education for two years. He joined the family candle and soap business after that. So he was almost entirely self-taught.
  • Franklin invented the armonica. Made of multiple glass orbs of different sizes and pitches, the spinning instrument was played with a wet finger. The sound was similar to that of a glass rim being rubbed by a finger. Franklin wrote: “Of all my inventions, the glass armonica has given me the greatest personal satisfaction.”

Don't miss

Seminar Room

Built where the building’s garden once lay, it was under the Seminar Room that bones from 10 different individuals were discovered in 1998. Known as the Craven Street Bones, they are the remnants of a small anatomy school run on the premises by William Hewson, son-in-law of Franklin’s landlady, Margaret Stevenson. Hewson would have been dissecting the bodies in secret, given the legal issues that remained regarding the use of human bodies for such purposes. However, it is believed that Franklin likely knew of the practice.

Special Events

Benjamin Franklin House regularly put on special events. These include talks on all manner of subjects, candlelit tours, seasonal activities, kids days and much more. Check the official website for more details.

Make the most of your London Pass

While in the area, consider paying a visit to Banqueting House. Commissioned by Charles I, it is the last surviving building of Whitehall Palace and it’s just a five minutes walk from Benjamin Franklin House.

The Household Cavalry Museum is also close by. Learn all about the mounted guards who protect the Queen. Entry to both attractions is included with The London Pass®.

For more things to do in London, check out The London Pass® Blog.

Know before you go

Getting in: present your pass at the main entrance. Admission is subject to availability. 

Please note: There is no wheelchair access to Benjamin Franklin House. It is a five-story townhouse with stairs between each floor. There are handrails on each staircase, but no lift. You will be required to wear a face-covering during the course of your visit.

For more information, please visit the Benjamin Franklin House - Architectural Tour website.

Where you'll be

Operating hours

Friday - Sunday: 12PM - 5PM

Closings & holidays

Monday - Thursday

Benjamin Franklin House - Architectural Tour

020 7839 2006

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Free cancellation

Plans can change, we get it. All non-activated credits packages are eligible for a refund within 90 days of your purchase date.

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