Virtual Talk: Benjamin Franklin, The Early Years

Join the House’s Education Manager, Eleanor Hamblen, for an exploration of Benjamin Franklin’s early years. From his childhood inventions to the time he spent as an apprentice to both his father and brother prior to his first visit to London in 1724. Uncover the formative experiences which shaped this Founding Father as we remember him today.

Watch the full talk and Q&A below:

Virtual Talk: Endell Street – The trailblazing women who ran a military hospital in WWI

Join author and journalist Wendy Moore, who acts as a judge for the Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize, as she discusses her latest book, Endell Street (published in the US as No Man’s Land). This military hospital was run entirely by women and played a key role in the treatment of injured British soldiers during World War One. It was situated just minutes away from Franklin’s former home on Craven Street.

When the First World War broke out on 4 August 1914 dozens of women doctors offered their services – but they were told by the British Army to “Go home and sit still”. Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett Anderson refused to sit still. Both qualified doctors and suffragettes – and also life partners – they took a unit of women doctors and nurses to Paris. They ran a hospital there so successfully that the army invited them to set up a second hospital in Boulogne and then – in May 1915 – to run a major military hospital in the heart of London. Endell Street was unique. It was the only hospital within the British Army to be staffed by women – all the doctors, nurses and orderlies were female apart from a dozen or so male helpers. The women of Endell Street treated 26,000 wounded – the vast majority of them men – who were shipped back from the frontline in France, Gallipoli and elsewhere throughout the war. After the war the hospital remained open for a further year to treat victims of the Spanish flu. Endell Street became renowned as the most popular hospital in the First World War – but that did nothing to help its women pioneers when peace came.

Endell Street is out now in the UK and will be released on 28 April in the US under the title ‘No Man’s Land’. You can order your (UK) copy here and the US book is available here.

Watch the full presentation and Q&A below:

Virtual Talk: Character virtues for the 21st century?

What is good character?  Why does it matter?

Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century had an abiding faith in the power of good character to improve quality of life for an individual and society at large. As a young man, Benjamin Franklin identified 13 character virtues.  What were they?  Did they improve his character and are they instructive for ours?  Join (founding) Benjamin Franklin House Director, Dr. Márcia Balisciano, for a fun and informative talk with virtual Q&A.

Watch the full talk and Q&A below:


Temporary Closure of Benjamin Franklin House

Our priority is protecting our visitors, staff, volunteers – and of course our precious, historic building.  To do our part to discourage the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we will be closing Benjamin Franklin House for all offerings effective Tuesday, 17 March 2020.

We hope to reopen in June or earlier, in line with UK government guidance. If you have tickets between now and 15 June, you can re-book here, or if you prefer, we will refund the cost of your ticket(s). However, we would be grateful if you would consider donating the cost of your ticket(s) to help Benjamin Franklin House weather this difficult time. We are continuing to pay our staff and key suppliers to ensure their well-being.

We do not take this decision lightly as our mission is to bring history and innovation to life for a global public through the world’s only surviving home of Benjamin Franklin.

While we are closed, we will take time to progress a number of core and new projects and explore opportunities for more distance programming.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at if you have any questions or concerns.

We will remember Benjamin Franklin’s advice: “it is in the first Place necessary to be careful in preserving Health (1786).”

Kind regards,

The Benjamin Franklin House Team

Polymath Festival with Benjamin Franklin House

Benjamin Franklin was the archetypical Enlightenment polymath. Known to most as a Founding Father of the United States, he also made many intellectual, institutional and social contributions as a celebrated publisher, entrepreneur, writer, philosopher, scientist, inventor, diplomat and statesman.

As part of the Polymath Festival, Benjamin Franklin House stages an immersive virtual tour of the world’s only remaining home of Benjamin Franklin to tell the rich story of Benjamin Franklin’s 16 polymathic years in London.

Ultimately, the tour begs a fundamental question: what can Franklin’s approach to life and work teach us today?

Learn more about the Polymath Festival here.


Holiday Fair

Wednesday, 11 December 2019, 12pm – 5pm

Join us for an afternoon of festive cheer with beautiful gifts and mulled wine at the world’s only surviving Franklin home.

Entry £3 

2019 Robert H Smith Lecture in Democracy: Why Heritage Matters?

Tuesday 22 October, 7.15pm – 8:30pm

Delivering the 2019 Robert H Smith Lecture in Democracy, Irina Bokova, former Director-General of UNESCO, explores how issues of education for all, gender equality, tolerance and the fight against violent extremism are crucially linked to the preservation of heritage.

Irina Bokova is a Bulgarian politician and former Director-General of UNESCO (2009 to 2017). She was the first woman and the first Eastern European to lead the organisation. During her political and diplomatic career in Bulgaria, she was twice elected as a Member of the National Parliament and served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She also served as Bulgaria’s Ambassador to France and to Monaco, and was Bulgaria’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. At UNESCO, Director-General Bokova advocated for gender equality, improved education and preventing funding for terrorism, especially by enforcing the protection of intellectual goods. She was particularly active in defence of cultural heritage in conflict in Mali, Syria and Iraq and in denouncing extremists’ destruction of heritage as a tool of war.

Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in collaboration with Benjamin Franklin House.

For more information and to purchase tickets please follow the link here.

Emerge Festival

Friday 27 September, 6:30pm – 9:30pm

As part of the Emerge Festival, a celebration of London-wide culture, we will offer evening views of the House, along with a demonstration of Franklin’s glass armonica.

Ticket available via the Emerge Festival website here

Virtual Talk: Franklin the Innovator

Join us on a whistle-stop tour of Franklin’s many ingenious inventions, from the lightening rod to the glass armonica and the Franklin stove. House Education Manager, Eleanor Hamblen, will reflect on how Franklin’s scientific process led him to become one of the key figures of the Enlightenment and how his discoveries have shaped our modern world.

Watch the full talk and Q&A below

Family Day: Toys in Franklin’s Time

Family Day: Toys in Franklin’s Time

Tuesday 30 July, 10.30am-12.30pm

Join us to learn how children passed their time 300 years ago with Georgian toys and games. Design and create some your own traditional toys to take away.

Suitable for children aged 5-11

Free – To book email