Ben Franklin Slept Here
March 16, 2006 9:23 AM   Subscribe

Jefferson has his Monticello; Washington, Mount Vernon. Now, Benjamin Franklin's only surviving residence, Number 36 Craven Street, London, opened its doors to the public. More inside.
posted by matteo (13 comments total)

 
“I … sigh in the midst of cheerful company”
Franklin's London Years

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The Writings of Benjamin Franklin: London, 1757 - 1775
The Cravenstreet Gazette


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But the Benjamin Franklin House is not simply a history-themed entertainment. Intended as an educational facility for all things Franklin, scholars are welcomed to a small, top-floor study centre for quiet reflection. Currently housing the 40-volume Yale University Papers of Benjamin Franklin, it's hoped the centre will become an important resource and pilgrimage spot for Franklin fans from around the world.
posted by matteo at 9:26 AM on March 16, 2006


Excellent post, Matteo. Isn't this the place where they did an excavation a few years back and found a bunch of human bones buried beneath the kitchen, apparently from cadavers dissected by medical students? Yes it is:

Initial estimates are that the bones are about 200 years old and were buried at the time Franklin was living in the house, which was his home from 1757 to 1762 and from 1764 to 1775.

Most of the bones show signs of having been dissected, sawn or cut. One skull has been drilled with several holes. Paul Knapman, the Westminster coroner, said yesterday: "I cannot totally discount the possibility of a crime.


Now that would make for a great display at the house!
posted by LarryC at 9:42 AM on March 16, 2006


Benjamin Dahmer?
posted by matteo at 9:47 AM on March 16, 2006


Great link, matteo.
posted by ori at 10:01 AM on March 16, 2006


Ooh, good timing, I'm in the middle of the Walter Isaacson bio of Franklin.
posted by amro at 10:50 AM on March 16, 2006


And don't miss the chance to look into his privy pits in Philadelphia as part of the essential Franklin experience!
posted by Atreides at 10:56 AM on March 16, 2006


Oh, there's a novel in the bones story - Ben Franklin + Serial Killer Story = $$$$$.

I wonder if he ever met William Blake....
posted by Grangousier at 11:02 AM on March 16, 2006


Ben Franklin + Serial Killer Story + William Blake = MEGA$$$$$.

Like Caleb Carr cubed
posted by matteo at 11:15 AM on March 16, 2006


and by the way, Grangousier, this is MetaSpooky: I was about to post (tomorrow) about Blake!
posted by matteo at 11:17 AM on March 16, 2006


This is neat. Franlin was quite fond of London and its people, as mentioned in the article. What a time and place to be alive. . . .
posted by bardic at 11:20 AM on March 16, 2006


Please excuse a little self promotion, but I should have an article about the house in the next issue of American Heritage. I was there in October as they were rushing to get the place ready to open in January. They still had a long way to go. The story I heard about the bones is that they were buried by William Hewson, the son-in-law of Franklin's landlady, who ran a small anatomy school there. Quite possibly he obtained his specimens via shady means, such as resurrection men. But the corpses got the last laugh, because Hewson cut himself while working on one and died of septicemia. The bones, some of them at least, are supposed to be on display. I just have to find a way to get back over there and see them . . .
posted by Man-Thing at 12:26 PM on March 16, 2006


I just came in to say that if you're interested in Good Old Ben, “the only president of the United States who never was president of the United States,” Man-Thing just wrote a whole book about him. But I see he beat me here. (I gotta stop sleeping during the day.)

Anyway, he's a good man; it's probably a good book. And not that expensive — I'm hoping to earn $9.95 sometime this year so I can get a copy.
posted by LeLiLo at 12:43 AM on March 17, 2006


Ben Franklin + Serial Killer Story + William Blake = MEGA$$$$$.

Oh, oh, I call dibs!

*begins writing furiously*
posted by LarryC at 4:57 PM on March 17, 2006


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