Carlyle’s House, in Chelsea, central London, was the home acquired by the historian and philosopher Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane Welsh Carlyle, after having lived at Craigenputtock in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. She was a prominent woman of letters, for nearly half a century. The building dates from 1708 and is at No. 24 Cheyne Row (No. 5 when they lived there); the house is now owned by the National Trust.
The building is a typical Georgian terraced house, a modestly comfortable home where the Carlyles lived with one servant and Jane’s dog, Nero. The house was opened to the public in 1895, just fourteen years after Thomas’s death. It is preserved very much as it was when the Carlyles lived there, despite a later occupant with scores of cats and dogs. It is a good example of a middle class Victorian home. Devotees tracked down many items of furniture owned by the Carlyles. It contains some of the Carlyles’ books (many on permanent loan from the London Library, which was established by Carlyle). It also contains pictures, personal possessions, portraits by artists such as James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Helen Allingham, and memorabilia assembled by their admirers.
The house is made up of four floors. The kitchen is in the basement. The ground floor was the parlour. The first floor holds both the drawing room/library and Jane’s bedroom. Thomas’s bedroom was on the second floor and is now the custodian’s residence. The attic was converted into a study in an attempt to remove Thomas from the constant noise of the street and neighbours. The house has a small walled garden which is preserved much as it was when Thomas and Jane lived there ? the fig tree still produces fruit.