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Behind closed doors: Three of London’s historic buildings with limited access

Posted at 3:30 pm, March 14, 2015 in Property

19 Princelet Street © Matthew Andrews© Matthew Andrews

Like getting into exclusive London spots? Here’s a few lovely London places rarely open to the public…


This unrestored Grade II*-listed building was a Huguenot silk merchant’s house in the early eighteenth century. It’s only open to the public a handful of times a year, including Refugee Week in June and Open House London in September (although group visits can sometimes be arranged at other times). It contains a concealed synagogue, in the attic above which lived the enigmatic recluse Jacob Rodinsky, who disappeared in the 1960s, leaving a locked room full of personal possessions that remained unopened until 1980. The place is also known as London’s ‘museum of conscience’. 19 Princelet St, E1 6QH. Liverpool St. Free but donations welcome.


If you enjoyed the recent Tate exhibition and Mike’s Leigh’s film ‘Mr Turner’ you might fancy checking out JMW Turner’s former London des res. Built in 1831 to his own design (Turner originally trained as an architect), the Twickenham house was used by the artist as a quiet retreat and to provide a home for his retired father. The house is open between April and October on the first Saturday of the month until 2016, when a £1.4million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will see it restored to its original plan. Sandycombe Lodge, 40 Sandycoombe Rd, TW1 2LR. St Margaret’s rail. Apr-Oct, first Sat of the month 2pm-5pm. £4.


On Saturdays from April to September, dedicated volunteers lead tours of this atmospheric Arts and Crafts time capsule, the former residence of Sir Emery Walker – printer, collector and friend and mentor to William Morris. The remarkably well preserved interiors exemplify the exquisitely crafted style Morris and his chums championed (the venue has been kept much as it was when Walker moved in in 1907), while the garden overlooking the Thames is laid out to a plan based on Dorothy Walker’s planting notes and photographs from the 1920s and 1930s. 7 Hammersmith Terrace, W6 9TS. Stamford Brook. Apr-Sep, Sat 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm, plus selected Suns. £10. 

Take a look at 91 other fantastic things happening in London this February.

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