Open House Festival

195 Mare Street

historical house

-, 1697

195 Mare St, E8 3QE

195 Mare Street

Getting there


Bethnal Green


London Fields


55, 388, 38, 254, 106


Accessibility notes

Sadly the house is not wheelchair accessible.


Exhibition 8-10 September

On 8-10 September, we will be showing "We Are For The Dark", an exhibition by contemporary artists, Kate McDonnell and Nicola Turner. Their work explores the darker side of the human condition through installations in the house.

Tours and art 16-17 September

On 16-17 September, the house will be open for people to explore and the owners will be offering tours telling the history of the house.

We will be exhibiting a variety of work that responds to the house and the local area, including:

"195": a film by Floro Azqueta and Tom Pearman celebrating the architecture and history of 195 Mare Street by exploring its features and particularly those found in the building’s basement.

"The Botanical Cabinet": an exhibition by Marcia Teusink, Milena Michalski and Tulika Ladsariya, exploring the history of Loddiges nursery on Mare Street.

"Seed Bed": a living sculpture by Kate Goodrich in the garden of the house, introducing biodiversity to an abandoned site and connecting to Hackney’s rich botanical history.

Artwork by Olivia Arthur, Sam Hodge, Andy D'Cruz, Isha Bohling, Philip Ebeling and others.


195 Mare Street was built in 1697 for Abraham Dolins, a wealthy merchant from Holland. The house was a grand country retreat from the City of London. Art by famous European artists, including Rembrandt and van Dyck, was displayed in the house. Generations of the Dolins family lived in the house until 1800. It was later owned by Thomas Wilson, the Tory MP for the City of London, who was a supporter of the slave trade and argued for reparations for slave owners. In 1860, the house was sold to the Elizabeth Fry Society and became the Elizabeth Fry Refuge for women prisoners. Thousands of women and girls lived in the house after serving short prison sentences. In the twentieth century, the house became the New Lansdowne Working Men's Club and an important part of Hackney's social life. The Club closed in 2004 and the house was abandoned for years before being repaired by a local developer and sold to the current owners, who will restore it to a family home and community arts space.

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