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At Benjamin Truman’s House

December 13, 2016
by the gentle author

Behold, the winter dusk is glimmering in this old house in Princelet St built in the seventeen-twenties for Benjamin Truman. A hundred years later, a huge factory was added on the back which more than doubled the size. In the twentieth century, this became the home of the extended Gernstein family from whom the current owners bought the house in the eighties. Notable as Lionel Bart’s childhood home, who once returned to have his portrait taken by Lord Snowden on the doorstep, in recent years it has served as the location for innumerable film and photo shoots. And now, as if to complete the circle, the house has been sold to the proprietors of the Old Truman Brewery.

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22 Responses leave one →
  1. December 13, 2016

    What a treat

  2. December 13, 2016

    What a lovely place. Fabulous photographs.

  3. James Harris permalink
    December 13, 2016


  4. December 13, 2016

    How wonderful that the old interior has been conserved so well, just beautiful! Valerie

  5. December 13, 2016

    What a beautiful old house and so evocatively photographed. Such a relief to see a story about a building of such antiquity and beauty being SAVED rather than at risk of demolition. If it isn’t already listed, I hope sees that it is.


    And thank you, V x

  6. December 13, 2016

    Architecturally interesting but this seems more like a house than a home. So bare and stark. Oh for a cosy fire, some rugs, snug chairs and pretty lamps. A lick of paint on the battered exterior wouldn’t go amiss either.

  7. Ann permalink
    December 13, 2016

    What a fantastic house. I wonder what plans the new owners have for it. Something sympathetic, I hope.

  8. December 13, 2016

    How wonderful to do some “vicarious decorating” this morning……although it is also such a treat to see the bones of the house revealed. I especially loved seeing the worn steps — Thanks for the narrative and evocative photos. This dignified structure is One For The Ages.

  9. Marino Marino permalink
    December 13, 2016

    This group of photos made me weep. I can’t say why. My favorite is the open-back ‘ladder stairs’ with the beautiful well-trod steps.
    Thank you for the sensitive portraits you and your photographers and friends/interviewees share with us. They enrich my life.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    Marnie Sweet
    Akron, OH USA

  10. December 13, 2016

    We had the chance to visit this lovely house back in the summer and found it a great inspiration for our Georgian house which we are currently renovating.

  11. pauline taylor permalink
    December 13, 2016

    What a house this is, but oh how it needs, and how it would respond to, some tender loving care, let us hope that the new owners will transform it into the wonderful home that it could be. The photographs are great and capture a slightly creepy feeling; what exactly is around that corner or at the top of those stairs, a real field day here for those with a vivid imagination. And just look at the width of those lovely floorboards!!

    Thank you for arranging to let us have a look see at something that we would never see otherwise.

  12. Shawdian permalink
    December 13, 2016

    Thank you Gentle Author.
    I have passed this house many times and seen it in many
    period films and Television series, so it is nice at last to
    see what it looks like inside. Each time I see this building,
    I pray it will not be demolished as with so much of old
    London these days.

  13. Pdstark permalink
    December 13, 2016

    It’s perfect

  14. Jane Clouston permalink
    December 14, 2016

    So interesting …..thank you for these pics. Even though we live in New Zealand I am an keen follower of your blogs. We stay in spittalfields when we come over ..thanks to our special friend
    Martin Lane..
    Merry Christmas to you Gentle Author

  15. Ros permalink
    December 14, 2016

    great to see inside this house. I’ve so often seen it from the outside, usually with film crews/stars/extras in a cluster outside. Will the owners of Truman’s brewery still rent it out for filming I wonder?

  16. moyra peralta permalink
    December 15, 2016

    Beautiful photographs. Balm to the soul.

  17. JeanM permalink
    December 15, 2016

    What a wonderful old house and such a history. Let us hope that the new
    owners will look after the house as it deserves

  18. December 15, 2016

    Fantastic photographs, thank you for showing them.
    My wife and I tend to play ‘spot the house in Spitalfields’ as it has been the star of so many TV programmes including the one-off about Mrs Beaton and the Poliakof series before the current one (sorry can’t remember the name). I also always enjoy photographing it and indeed was photographing the Supermoon over Princelet Street last night from outside the front windows.

  19. December 23, 2016

    I got past this house frequently and always have a peer in through the window. It harkens back to how imagine life to be not so very long ago. Always empty as I pass by so a treat to sneak around the place through your wonderful post.

  20. Rhonda permalink
    June 25, 2018

    This house is BEYOND perfect. Like wrinkles on a face this home has seen plenty and has wonderful character. It should not be touched whatsoever. To slap paint on this fabulous time worn patina would be a downright crime. The stairs are plain out incredible with their wear that comes only from time and use. Lucky new owners!

  21. Ken Stewart permalink
    June 4, 2021

    Hope they do not spoil the beautiful interior if they renovate it.

  22. M. Brown permalink
    February 15, 2023

    Lovely old bones. I would try for some more natural light access if living in it would be the purpose, mirrors to reflect the light, but other than that only water and soap, maybe some floor polish. Anything more would completely change the feel of the place.

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