Carlyle’s House, Chelsea
“Tom Carlyle lives in perfect dignity in a house in Chelsea with a snuffy Scotch maid to open the door and best company in England ringing at it!”
William Makepeace Thackeray
There is nothing quite like a historic house, is there?
The former homes of notable people from history range from the grand to the intimate, and Carlyle’s House is one of the most intimate in London.
Writer and historian Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane moved to this quintessentially-Victorian home in 1834.
At the time, Chelsea was pretty unfashionable — until Carlyle became famous, and Dickens, Tennyson and others started flocking here to spend time with him.
These days, it’s owned by National Trust and has been preserved just as the Carlyles left it.
Outside, there are just a few clues that a special place lies just a few feet away, such as the statue of Thomas Carlyle that sits on Chelsea Embankment…
…and the subtle sign on Cheyne Row.
Stepping onto the peaceful Cheyne Row feels like stepping back into the 1800s.
You have to look pretty close to tell that number 24 has such an interesting history.
Inside, it’s like Thomas Carlyle has just stepped out of the room — most of the items in the house belonged to the Carlyle’s.
The attention to detail is stunning, right down to the books in the study and the worn chair in the corner.
Jane’s bedroom is made up for a good night’s sleep, complete with a four-poster bed and candles ready for twilight.
And you can understand why Thomas Carlyle loved this spot in the garden so much.
You’re free to sit here and think for hours, just like he did.
Carlyle’s House: the essentials
Opening times: Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-5pm (last admission is 4.30pm)
Nearest Tube: Sloane Square / Fulham Broadway
More information: Visit the National Trust website here