The Linley Sambourne house is situated on a quiet street in southwest London. From the outside, it looks like any of the other houses on the street. But the inside can transport visitors back in time.
Edward Linley Sambourne was a cartoonist for the Victorian magazine Punch. Founded in 1841, Punch was one of the more popular satirical magazines of the Victorian era and was also one of the first magazines to pioneer the idea of employing cartoons in a comical format. Sambourne became chief cartoonist for the magazine in 1901 and stayed with the magazine until his death in 1910. During his time at Punch Sambourne drew a number of famous cartoons. Most notable among these is the quintessential picture of British Imperialism: Cecil Rhodes with his feet planted at opposite ends of the African continent.
The house at 18 Stafford Terrace has been preserved with the exact same interior decorations and furnishings that it had while occupied by Sambourne and his family around the turn of the century. (Sambourne purchased the house in 1875 and lived there until his death.) The rooms are filled with cartoons, sketches, paintings, and other interesting and eclectic pieces of art. There is a formidably large china collection along with Sambourne’s original bed and writing desk.
Today, the house is managed and operated by the Victorian Society. Tours of the property are available. Some of the tours are led by actors who are dressed in period costume, seemingly straight out of a Dickens novel. This, while perhaps slightly camp, can also be highly entertaining.
Know Before You Go
Take the Tube to High Street Kensington Station, walk west down the High Street and turn right onto Argyll Road. Turn left onto Stafford Terrace.