Summer Walking Tours: Benjamin Franklin’s 18th Century London

Discover the sights, sounds and smells of Benjamin Franklin’s 18th Century London in our brand-new summer walking tour!

Starting at our doorstep, our expert guide will lead you around our local area to retrace the steps Franklin would have taken whilst living and working here just prior to the American Revolution.

From famous thoroughfares to hidden streets, you’ll uncover a layer of London history and learn of its transformation over the last 200 years.

Thursday 21 July August 2022, 3pm. 

Thursday 25 August 2022, 3pm.

Duration: 1.5 hours (approximate)

Location: Starting from 36 Craven Street.

Tickets: £9.50 per person

BOOK HERE

Celebrate 4th July Weekend with us!

Spend 4th July weekend at the home of Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin!

As a founder of the United States, Franklin was the only statesman to have signed all four documents that created a new nation, including The Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris, and The Constitution. The first of these was signed on 4 July 1776, the year after Franklin left this house!

Whether you’re an American expat or a just want to get in on the celebrations with our friends across the pond, we are ready to welcome you all weekend!

Friday 1 – Sunday 3 July 2022, 12-5pm

See Benjamin Franklin House decorated for the occasion and join us for our Architectural Tours on Friday and our Historical Experience show on Saturday and Sunday to learn all about the time Franklin spent in London on the cusp of revolution!

From £7.50 per adult – Purchase tickets via Art Tickets here

Monday 4 July 2022

12-4:15pm

Join us for our flagship offering, the Historical Experience, where the house will be transformed into a stage for a drama that tells the rich story of Franklin in London just prior to the Revolution. A one-off Monday treat!

From £9.50 per adult – purchase tickets here. 

5-7pm. 

We are also opening our doors for two exclusive after-hours tours, complete with American-inspired drinks and snacks!

£15 per person – find out more and purchase tickets.

Ben’s Book Club: ‘Female Genius’ by Mary Sarah Bilder

Wednesday July 13 2022, 5pm BST/12pm ET. Register here.

Join us for the July instalment of Ben’s Book Club, a quarterly virtual gathering looking at themes relating to Benjamin Franklin, the 18th century, and American history.

This month we will be talking to Mary Sarah Bilder about her latest book ‘Female Genius’ which opens a new window on constitutional history, making it clear that this framing moment did not solely belong to white men.

Through the story of one remarkable woman, Eliza Harriot Barons O’Connor, Mary investigates the shaping of the Constitution alongside the rise of the ‘female genius’ and offers an inspirational transatlantic history of women who believed in education as a political right.

Professor Mary Sarah Bilder teaches in the areas of property, trusts and estates, and American legal and constitutional history at Boston College Law School. Her 2016 book Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention, earned the Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy, and was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize. Her 2004 The Transatlantic Constitution: Colonial Legal Culture and the Empire won the American Historical Association’s Littleton-Griswold Award.

Buy your copy of ‘Female Genius’ here.

Join us even if you don’t have a chance to read the book by the event date!

This event is free of charge but please consider making an online donation here to support the work of Benjamin Franklin House.

Platinum Jubilee Celebrations: Benjamin Franklin’s Relationship with the Crown

Join us as we celebrate HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee!

Thursday June 2, Friday June 3 – Sunday June 5, 12pm – 5pm 

In honour of the event, we will be enhancing our standard Architectural Tours and Historical Experiences with jubilee decorations and fun Benjamin Franklin facts all about his surprising relationship to the Crown.

From £7.50 per adult – Purchase tickets via Art Tickets here

Thursday June 2,  6pm – 7pm

Kick off the four day weekend with an after hours tour complete with traditional British cocktails and snacks!

Make your way through this iconic historic building, the only remaining residence of Benjamin Franklin anywhere in the world, and learn all about Benjamin Franklin’s relationship with the Crown during his 16 year stay here.

£10/per person – Purchase tickets via Eventbrite here

Virtual Talk: A Day in the Life of Benjamin Franklin

Thursday 7th July 2022 – 5pm BST/12pm ET

Join our Education Manager, Henry Wilkinson, as he discusses what could have been a day in the life of Benjamin Franklin whilst he resided here at 36 Craven Street over 250 years ago!

Follow in Franklin’s footsteps to unlock the secrets of success and happiness in the 18th Century. You will explore his ‘thirteen virtues’ and gain the perfect template for an orderly life, in Franklin’s own words.

From his morning routine, you’ll learn how to start the day right and pick up some excellent tips on cleanliness and healthy living, Georgian style. You also will broaden your palette to get a taste for Georgian cuisine as we explore the food and drink that was cooked up in our historic kitchen.

The talk will last roughly 1 hour and is FREE. To secure a slot, please register for the webinar here.

Ben’s Book Club: ‘The Gun, the Ship & the Pen’ by Linda Colley

Wednesday May18 2022, 5pm BST/12pm ET. Register here. 

Join us for the May instalment of Ben’s Book Club, a quarterly virtual gathering looking at themes relating to Benjamin Franklin, the 18th century, and American history.  

This month we will be talking to Linda Colley about her book ‘The Gun, the Ship & the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World.’ Starting with the Corsican constitution of 1755, the book moves through every continent, disrupting accepted narratives and demonstrating how constitutions evolved in tandem with warfare, how they have functioned to advance empire as well as promote nations, and worked to exclude as well as liberate. 

Whether reinterpreting Japan’s momentous 1889 constitution, or exploring the significance of the first constitution to enfranchise all adult women on Pitcairn Island in the Pacific in 1838, this is one of the most original global histories in decades. 

Linda Colley is an expert on British, imperial and global history since 1700. She is currently Shelby M. C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University and a Long-Term Fellow in History at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala. She previously held chairs at Yale University and at the London School of Economics. 

Buy ‘The Gun, the Ship & the Pen’ here. 

Join us even if you don’t have a chance to read the book by the event date! 

This event is free of charge but please consider making an online donation here to support the work of Benjamin Franklin House. 

 

Ben’s Book Club: ‘Slave Empire’ by Padraic X. Scanlan

Wednesday February23 2022, 5pm GMT/12pm ET. Register here. 

Join us for the February instalment of Ben’s Book Club, a quarterly virtual gathering looking at themes relating to Benjamin Franklin, the 18th century, and American history.  

This month we will be talking to Padraic X. Scanlan about his book ‘Slave Empire: How Slavery Built Modern Britain,’ which puts enslaved people at the centre the British empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 

In intimate, human detail, the chapters show how British imperial power and industrial capitalism were inextricable from plantation slavery. With vivid original research and careful synthesis of innovative historical scholarship, Slave Empire shows that British freedom and British slavery were made together. 

Dr Padraic X. Scanlan is Assistant Professor in the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources and the Centre for Diaspora & Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto and a Research Associate at the Joint Centre for History and Economics at the University of Cambridge. He has also held appointments at the London School of Economics and Harvard University. 

Buy your copy of ‘Slave Empire’ here. 

Join us even if you don’t have a chance to read the book by the event date! 

This event is free of charge but please consider making an online donation here to support the work of Benjamin Franklin House. 

 

Book Launch: ‘Washington at the Plow’ by Bruce A. Ragsdale

Tuesday 23 November, 1pm ET/6pm GMT. Register here to attend virtually or here to attend in person. 

Bruce A. Ragsdale will discuss his book, Washington at the Plow: The Founding Farmer and the Question of Slavery which depicts the “first farmer of America” as a leading practitioner of the New Husbandry, a transatlantic movement that spearheaded advancements in crop rotation.

A tireless experimentalist, Washington pulled up his tobacco and switched to wheat production, leading the way for the rest of the country. He filled his library with the latest agricultural treatises and pioneered land-management techniques that he hoped would guide small farmers, strengthen agrarian society, and ensure the prosperity of the nation.

Slavery was a key part of Washington’s pursuits. He saw enslaved field workers and artisans as means of agricultural development and tried repeatedly to adapt slave labour to new kinds of farming. To this end, he devised an original and exacting system of slave supervision. But Washington eventually found that forced labor could not achieve the productivity he desired. His inability to reconcile ideals of scientific farming and rural order with race-based slavery led him to reconsider the traditional foundations of the Virginia plantation. As Bruce Ragsdale shows, it was the inefficacy of chattel slavery, as much as moral revulsion at the practice, that informed Washington’s famous decision to free his slaves after his death.

Bruce A. Ragsdale served for twenty years as director of the Federal Judicial History Office at the Federal Judicial Center. The author of A Planters’ Republic: The Search for Economic Independence in Revolutionary Virginia, he has been a fellow at the Washington Library at Mount Vernon and the International Center for Jefferson Studies.

You can order a hardcopy or e-book here (UK) or here (US).

Join us even if you don’t have a chance to read the book by the event date! 

This event is free of charge but please consider making an online donation here to support the work of Benjamin Franklin House. 

Ben’s Book Club: ‘Running from Bondage’ by Karen Cook-Bell

Join us for the December instalment of Ben’s Book Club, a monthly virtual gathering looking at themes relating to Benjamin Franklin, the 18th century, and American history.

Karen Cook-Bell, Associate Professor of History at Bowie State University, will discuss her book, Running from Bondage, recounting the important stories of enslaved women, who comprised one-third of all runaways, and the ways in which they fled, or attempted to flee, bondage during and after the Revolutionary War.   

Karen Cook Bell’s enlightening and original contribution to the study of slave resistance in eighteenth-century America explores the individual and collective lives of these women and girls of diverse circumstances, while also providing details about what led them to escape. She demonstrates that there were in fact two wars being waged during the Revolutionary Era: a political revolution for independence from Great Britain and a social revolution for emancipation and equality in which Black women played an active role. Running from Bondage broadens and complicates how we study and teach this momentous event, one that emphasizes the chances taken by these ‘Black founding mothers’ and the important contributions they made to the cause of liberty.

Karen Cook Bell is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the History and Government Department at Bowie State University. Her areas of specialization include slavery and the slave trade, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and women’s history. Her scholarship has appeared in the Journal of African American HistoryGeorgia Historical QuarterlyPassport; Black Perspectives; U.S. West-Africa: Interaction and Relations (2008); Before Obama: A Reappraisal of Black Reconstruction Era (2012); Converging Identities: Blackness in the Contemporary Diaspora (2013); and Slavery and Freedom in Savannah (2014).  Her writings have also appeared in The Washington Post, History News Network, and Ms. Magazine. She is the author of Claiming Freedom: Race, Kinship,  and Land in Nineteenth Century Georgia (University of South Carolina Press, 2018), which won the Georgia Board of Regents Excellence in Research Award; and Running from Bondage: Enslaved Women and Their Remarkable Fight for Freedom in Revolutionary America (Cambridge University Press, 2021).  She is a former AAUW Dissertation Fellow.

You can 0rder a hardcopy or e-book here (UK) or here (US).

Watch the full talk below:

 

Ben’s Book Club: ‘Incomparable World’ by S I Martin

Join us for the October instalment of Ben’s Digital Book Club, a monthly virtual gathering looking at themes relating to Benjamin Franklin, the 18th century, and American history.

This month S I Martin will do a reading and discuss his book Incomparable World which reimagines 1780s London, showcasing the untold stories of African-American soldiers grappling with their post-war freedom. Bursting with energy and vivid detail, Incomparable World boldly uncovers a long-buried narrative of black Britain.

S. I. Martin is a museums consultant and author, specialising in Black British history and literature. He is the author of several books of historical fiction and non-fiction for teenage and adult readers, including Britain’s Slave Trade (written for Channel 4 to tie in with its documentary of the same name), Jupiter Amidshops, Jupiter Williams and Incomparable World.

You can order a copy or e-book here (UK) or here (US).   

Watch the full talk below: