Archive > Jonathan Carter’s Unbelievable Guide to London

No. 1

Victoria Embankment, WC2.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this modern-looking house was built in the 1980s. However, it was actually created in 1797, after philosopher and architect Benjamin Gurney woke one night from a terrible dream, “possessed by the most potent of visions” of what he thought houses would look like in the 19th Century.

A House Is Not A Home

Swiftly raising money from investors, Gurney (see inset) built the house he’d seen in his dream before turning it into what he called The Amazing Museum Of Times Not Yet Current. Its meagre size and plain appearance became the talk of Georgian London, although not as Gurney had intended. After visiting the house, Samuel Taylor Coleridge called it “nought but a cage in which a domestic animal might be compelled to linger”.




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