Carlyle's House

Carlyle's House, in the district of Chelsea, in central London, England, was the home acquired by the historian and philosopher Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane Welsh Carlyle, after having lived at Craigenputtock in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. She was a prominent woman of letters, for nearly half a century. The building dates from 1708 and is at No. 24 Cheyne Row (No. 5 at Carlyle's time), which is one of London's best preserved early eighteenth-century streets. The house is now owned by the National Trust.

The house is a typical Georgian terraced house, a modestly comfortable home where the Carlyles lived with one servant and Jane's dog, Nero. They received visitors such as Charles Dickens, Alfred Lord Tennyson and George Eliot. The house was opened to the public in 1895, just fourteen years after Carlyle's death. It is preserved very much as it was when the Carlyles lived there despite another resident moving in after them with her scores of cats and dogs. It is a good example of a middle class Victorian home due to the efforts of devotees tracking down much of the original furniture owned by the Carlyles. It contains some of the Carlyles' books (many on permanent loan from the London Library, which was established by Carlyle), pictures and personal possessions, together with collections of portraits by artist such as James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Helen Allingham and memorabilia assembled by their admirers.

The house is made up of four floors — a basement which houses the kitchen, the ground floor which was the Carlyles' parlour, the first floor where the drawing room/library and Jane's bedroom are found, the second floor which was Thomas' bedroom and is now the Custodian's residence, and the attic, which was converted into a study in an attempt to remove Carlyle from the constant noise of the street and neighbours. It has a small walled garden which is preserved much as it was when Thomas and Jane lived there — the fig tree still produces fruit today.

Opening Times

Opening times from early March to late October (exact dates vary)

  • Monday: CLOSED (except Bank Holiday Mondays when it is open from 11am till 5pm)
  • Tuesday: CLOSED
  • Wednesday: Open from 11am till 5pm
  • Thursday: Open from 11am till 5pm
  • Friday: Open from 11am till 5pm
  • Saturday: Open from 11am till 5pm
  • Sunday: Open from 11am till 5pm

Last admission to the house is 30 minutes before closing.

Building Activity

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