The Honey Pot of Spitalfields..

IMG_1835Phew! Slowly some sanity can come back to my life.  I hope.  The kids are both finally back to school  – Bella on Tuesday and Charlie today which means at last I have some breathing space..it’s been fun having them around whilst I’ve been trying to work (my office is at home surprise surprise) but there are times when you need head space to focus..and ‘Mummy I’ve done a Poo’ isn’t the greatest thing to have on an ever crescendoing repetition when you’re on the phone to your financial business manager, particularly when it then escalates to ‘Wipe my bottom NOW’..it got to the point where I was being pestered every five minutes…I need a drink…I’m hungry…I want an orange pen..I want a blue one..no…I want the red pen that Bella has just broken..she’s broken MY pen..that I had to down tools and head out into the big smoke..but we did manage to have some adventures…

Yesterday Charlie and I went to Spitalfields in search of a vintage shop I’d heard about – I know, very child centric – But I work on the basis he’s learning that entertainment is an attitude (you can just see him quoting that back at me in years to come – i.e. when he’s choosing my old folks home..shoot.self.foot. ) But we went on the tube..there were red buses..there was the odd digger…

Anyways, we were navigating the back streets when we spotted a huddle of tourists and it dawned on me where we were..which was was genuinely unplanned..it was a place I had read about and had made a mental note to discover..but I had never thought we would just stumble across…IMG_1813

Folgate Street – though this is a picture of the street rather than the actual building because  No. 18 is Dennis Severs’ House…not a museum or  monument to our heritage or anything like that but more a living, breathing art exhibition exploring a house caught in a bubble of time in 1724..except there is more.  The house is lit only by candle light and no talking is allowed – all so you can experience the subtle sounds and smells which are an interwoven part of the magic: Footsteps, a bell tolling, a bumble bee trapped in a chamber pot…perfume, a freshly opened bottle of wine, pomander oranges stuck with cloves..we had to go in..

IMG_1819IMG_1823The kitchen complete with real roaring fire.

IMG_1828And a very low ceiling.

IMG_1824A meal in midst of preparation.

IMG_1826Charlie pointing out a mouse.

IMG_1821The heaving dresser.

IMG_1822IMG_1827Windows onto the street.

IMG_1830 Carefully making our way around in the candlelight.IMG_1818 The drawing room.  A broken cup on the ground..IMG_1816 The remains of a drinking party complete with tipped up chairs and thrown coats and wigs.IMG_1831IMG_1815A stunning bedroom, this above the fireplace.

It wasn’t pristine.  Plaster was falling off the walls in some places, in other rooms there was dust and cobwebs..but it all just added to the genuine authentic atmosphere and sepia mood…we were convinced we caught the tailcoats of ghosts round every corner whispering to each other and were utterly captivated and enthralled.  The house can be hired out for photographic sessions…could be an amazing back drop for an fashion shoot for a UK luxury label..

We did make it to the Vintage Shop – Absolute Vintage – where I managed to persuade Charlie to give me enough time to buy the dress in the first pic at the top…a beautiful smokey pink with cream polka dots and pockets.. perfect for early summer with a little cardigan and a pair of brogues..But I will return to Spitalfields again..we didn’t get to go round the famous market this time..and the shopping! – Woah! Has this area changed as regards shopping since I last strode these streets…from the little glimpse I got it looks out of this world!..bit of a theme for the day really..

Laters, Kate x

15 comments

  1. itwasjudith

    stunning place and great to see interiors in an “original” set up. The vintage dress looks fab… i should return to the market and peek at the Absolute Vintage shop 🙂 I think I avoided it last time not to have my company waiting for me (and also to rescue my budget..). On candle light tours, I always wanted to join this one, it’s actually a museum, done once a month in the evening… I love visiting such places
    http://www.soane.org/your_visit/evening_opening/

  2. rubyfoot

    I did the candlelight tour one Christmas about 5 years ago. It was really strange and spooky, especially in the freezing cold servants’ attic. I came out of the house and couldn’t speak for about 1/2 hour because of all the images swirling around in my head.
    I haven’t done Spitalfields for ages. I love just following my nose and turning off Brick Lane to find all the individual markets clustered around there. Loads of interesting old clothes in piles on blankets on the ground for a pound a pop.
    You’ve inspired me to go east again soon.

    • MasonBentley

      The atmosphere is unique – I think part of it is the fact is hasn’t been presented as sugar coated nostalgia. Am definitely heading to Spitalfields again..because I hadn’t been there for so long it was a bit like being in a foreign country…I always think it is these ‘villages’ within London that make it sing xxx

    • MasonBentley

      It really was cool – and nosy parker that I am it was a joy to be able to go inside and up and down one of these old Spitalfields houses…the whole area is a treasure trove of history..completely floated my boat xxx

    • MasonBentley

      I have never been anywhere quite like it…magical really. I spoke (in whispers) to a man in the main sitting room – he was gob-smacked – he ran a ‘historical house’ but nothing on this scale, he said xxx

  3. Stitch Kitten Designs

    The house looks amazing- crazy attention to every detail! My husband’s grandparents in Paraguay had one of those stoves (not a replica- brought over from Europe when they immigrated) they used it until recently, maybe 6 years ago they sold the house and left it there.

    • MasonBentley

      I love the thought of them thinking I know what we’ll take all the way to Paraguay – a stove! – there’s a story to be told there…I feel it in my bones…the amount of detail is staggering from washing hanging on lines in the attic to childrens toys on the stairs…in fact as you skirt round everything, sometimes you feel you’re the ghost.. xxxx

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