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Two Houses In Spitalfields

June 10, 2014
by the gentle author

This is the secret door concealed behind the fireplace that connects the dwellings of Jocasta Innes, the Cook, Writer & Paint Specialist, and Richard MacCormac, the Architect, in Heneage St. It was my good fortune to step through this doorway upon my very first visit to Spitalfields, many years ago, and I think the wonder of this experience was instrumental in drawing me to this place.

Even then, it was apparent that this extraordinary architectural feature revealed the metaphorical nature of the two different houses it linked, each manifesting their owners’ contrasted sensibilities yet by their connection emblematic of the personal relationship which bound them together. Now Richard MacCormac has published a book entitled Two Houses In Spitalfields with atmospheric photographs by Jan Baldwin that serves as a poignant record of the life he shared there with Jocasta Innes who died last year.

Hallway of Jocasta Innes’ house

Jocasta Innes’ kitchen

Jocasta Innes’ library with portrait of her mother

Chest in Jocasta Innes’ bedroom

Secret door on the landing in Jocasta Innes’ house leading to Richard MacCormac’s house

View back from Richard MacCormac’s house towards the secret door

Stairwell with display of medals belonging to Richard MacCormac’s ancestors

Richard MacCormac’s library

Folding desk in Richard MacCormac’s study

“The two Spitalfields houses, and our lives, were bound together, continually touched by our shared interests. They have many characteristics in common – illusion, allusion, surprise, humour and, of course, colour, but with the distinct identities which reflect us both” – Richard MacCormac

All photographs except exterior shot © Jan Baldwin

Exterior photograph © Hélène Rollin

A limited number of copies for Two Houses in Spitalfields by Richard MacCormac with photographs by Jan Baldwin are available for sale in aid of Maggie’s Centres from

You may also like to read about

Jocasta Innes, Cook, Writer & Paint Specialist

At Jocasta Innes’ House

13 Responses leave one →
  1. June 10, 2014

    I love how they both brought these beautiful old houses back to life and made them so beautiful. The secret doors give a wonderful little twist to the story. Valerie

  2. June 10, 2014

    Secret doors between two houses – how perfect. That’s a little daydream of mine.

  3. June 10, 2014

    Utterly scrumptious! My kind of house! Perfect.

  4. Jaki permalink
    June 10, 2014

    Fabulous houses. I’m really looking forward to getting the book.

  5. June 10, 2014

    Lovely homes. — Richard MacCormac’s library (look at the extra shelves for specific books!) and the secret doors are very special!

    Love & Peace

  6. Sarah C permalink
    June 10, 2014

    Lovely homes. Wishing I had a secret door. Found it interesting that Mr. MacCormac’s folding desk here would be called a secretary. Or at least that’s what my parents called the one they gave me.

  7. Janet M permalink
    June 10, 2014

    Jocasta Innes was a wonderful and inspiring decorator. I am sorry that she is gone. I too wish that I had a secret door.

  8. Gary Arber permalink
    June 10, 2014

    I wonder if the Mamod traction engine in one of the photographs was purchased from me in the 1960’s when I was selling them for £7.10.0 brand new.
    The houses are fantastic, very good photography.

  9. Pauline Taylor permalink
    June 10, 2014

    This is interior design at its very best and what a superb use of colour, I shall be going back again and again I know to look at these photographs. I have always been an admirer of Jocasta Innes’ style, there is nothing that jars in these rooms, and I am lost in admiration, what a clever lady she was.

  10. Dnt permalink
    June 14, 2014

    Been there twice once to a house party there and my second visit was a job interview lol.

  11. July 4, 2014

    Enchanting. Parts of this remind me of the feeling I got when I walked into my grandmother’s house many years ago.

  12. Rolin permalink
    August 17, 2015

    How lucky to have you dear author.
    Re discovering these words and pictures is a real gift.
    I had the great fortune to live many years in this paradise.
    Thank you!

  13. Richard William Scally permalink
    August 6, 2022

    Exquisite Beautiful, hidden gems of London’s past.

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