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Soho House


Soho House was the elegant home of the industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton from 1766 to 1809.

The house has been beautifully restored and reflects the fashions and tastes of the late Georgian period.

There’s also the chance to see some of the products of Boulton’s nearby factory – where buttons and buckles, clocks and vases, and silver and Sheffield plate tableware were made – and where he developed the steam engine in partnership with James Watt.

Soho House was also a favourite meeting place of the Lunar Society, a leading Enlightenment group. The Lunar Society would meet every month on the night of the full moon to dine, conduct experiments, and discuss philosophical matters of the day.

Members of the society included Erasmus Darwin, James Watt and Joseph Priestly who all gathered around the Lunar Room table and engaged in a lively exchange of ideas which inspired many new discoveries and inventions.

Admire the elegant home of industrial pioneer Matthew Boulton, who lived in Soho House from 1766 to 1809. He moved to Soho House so he could be near his business. Originally a small farmhouse, over the next 50 years he had many alterations and improvements done to make it an elegant and fashionable country home. Matthew Boulton was very keen on new inventions. Soho House is probably the first house in England to have a central heating system installed since Roman times. In addition he had a vast steam heated bath installed and indoor flushing toilets. Within the House there are displays of silver, coins and ormolu produced in the Soho Manufactory, which was one of the world’s first factories.

Soho House was a regular venue for the meeting for the leading eighteenth century intellectuals of the Lunar Society. Here, Matthew Boulton met with some of the most important scientists, engineers and thinkers of his time. The Lunar Society was a group of free thinking scientists and industrialists including Joseph Priestley, Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood, James Watt, and William Withering.

Enjoy the beautiful 18th Century gardens. The garden Soho House was originally over one hundred acres, there is little of this left now. The laid out garden at Soho House has been landscaped as a suburban garden with evidence for planting based on what was found in the Boulton archive. The Hermitage is a reconstruction of the place where Boulton would retreat for quiet contemplation.

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