Inside Carlyle's House

Robert Tait's painting of the Carlyle's in their Parlour

Walk in the footsteps of some of the most famous writers of the day at Carlyle’s House, London. Explore the home of Thomas and Jane Carlyle, with its original features and fixtures.


Robert Tait's painting ‘A Chelsea Interior’ shows Thomas & Jane Carlyle in their front parlour in1857. Jane wrote to a friend: 'My chief impediment has been a weary artist who took the bright idea last spring that he would make a picture of our sitting-room, to be amazingly interesting to posterity a hundred years hence!'

Attic study

In August 1853 a builder was instructed to build ‘a sound-proof attic room’. Carlyle wrote 'After deep deliberation, I have decided to have a top storey put upon the house, with double walls, lighted from above and artfully ventilated, into which no sound may come!'

Jane Carlyle declared 'The silent room is the noisiest room in the house!'

Carlyles House attic study
Carlyles House attic study


Most of what you will see when you visit belonged to the Carlyles. The decoupage screen in the drawing room made by Jane Carlyle in 1849.

View more of our collection online

Jane Carlyles decoupage screen
Jane Carlyles decoupage screen at Carlyles House


'...they had no water laid on' wrote Virginia Woolf in an article for Good Housekeeping magazine in 1932. 'Every drop that the Carlyle's used - and they were Scots, fanatical in their cleanliness - had to be pumped by hand from a well in the kitchen...the wide and wasteful old grate upon which all kettles had to be boiled if they wanted a hot bath;'

You can still see the original fixtures and fittings today.

Basement kitchen at Carlyles House
Basement kitchen at Carlyles House