Search This Blog

Friday, August 12, 2016

Day 12 - London - Ben Franklin's Home

The only remaining home of
Ben Franklin.

From this desk - Ben would write to his
wife Deborah

Ironically this Rolls Royce was parked out
front. I imagined that Ben would ride in
one of these

Buckingham Palace is not very far from
Ben's home - same with Parliament

They give tours and multi media
presentations in the house. Someone
dresses up as Polly Stevenson

Many people do not realize that Ben Franklin lived in London 16 years from 1758 to 1774. He represented Pennsylvania and several other colonies to the Crown. In essence - his home here in London was the first American Embassy.  His house - 36 Craven Street - is just off the Thames River - between Parliament and Buckingham Palace. At one time it fell into disrepair - but it still has the original floors and woodwork. 

To the people in Europe - Ben Franklin was the greatest American. He was such a Renaissance man - he was a master in science - literature - government - art. He had more influence on the formation of America than any other man. He signed the Declaration of Independence - the Treaty of Paris - and the American Constitution. He invented - the Franklin Stove - bifocals - lightning rod - and glass harmonica. He founded the University of Pennsylvania - the first insurance company - the American postal system - and the first fire company. He convinced France to support the USA in the American Revolution. After the war - he served many years in France as our ambassador.

Lulu just reminded me that Franklin started the first lending library.

He spent almost the last 30 years of his life in Europe. His wife in Philadelphia - Deborah - feared travel and stayed home. She died while he was in England. Ben was very much a lady's man and several historians say he had an affair with both his landlady and her daughter in England. 

He had a son - William - out of wedlock who later became the Royal governor of New Jersey. He and Franklin parted company over the war - and his son fled to London - never to return. His son also had a son out of wedlock - William Temple Franklin - who became a lawyer and accompanied Ben to France. 

Ben returned to American to help pass the Constitution. He died in 1791 and is buried with Deborah in downtown Philly. He was 84. 

The house on Craven Street in London is very much like our apartment. It is very narrow and 4 stories high. When they were restoring it - they found the bones of 14 humans in the back yard. Carbon studies show they were buried there when Franklin was in the house. Supposedly they were the left over from an Anatomy School that Franklin's friend ran there. 

View of the street from Ben's room

The original floors and fireplaces in Ben's home

In the old days - this was the back wall -
they found human bones
near those planters

No comments: