Victorian home reopens

The home of a 19th-century cartoonist and his family has reopened in London after a 3-year renovation. A middle-class townhouse of the period, Linley Sambourne House was the home of the Punch magazine illustrator Edward Linley Sambourne from 1875.

The home is crammed full of period artifacts, including porcelain, etchings and statuettes. Visitors are taken around the house by a costumed actor who plays the part of Mrs. Sambourne, their son or the domestic maid.

The house is located behind the stores of Kensington High Street, a 2-minute walk from the Commonwealth Institute, at 18 Stafford Terrace, W8. It is open on Saturdays and Sundays. Tours cost £6 (£1 child) and reservations are advised. Phone 020 7602 3316.

Other “time-capsule” houses in London open to the public include. . .

• The National Trust’s Fenton House (Hampstead Grove, London; phone +44 [0] 20 7435 3471, fax +44 [0] 20 7435 3471), a late-17th-century merchant’s home featuring an outstanding collection of porcelain and early keyboard instruments, most in working order. Open April-October.

• The Leighton House (12 Holland Park Road, London; phone 020 7602 3316, fax 020 7371 2467, e-mail, the home and studio of Frederic, Lord Leighton, the 19th-century classical painter and president of the Royal Academy. Along with the collection of art, the house incorporates dramatic ebonized woodwork, gilded decoration, mosaic floors and Persian carpets.

Southside House (3-4 Woodhayes Rd., Wimbldon Common, London; phone 0208 946 7643, fax 0207 376 3327, e-mail, a Dutch-Baroque mansion filled with artifacts from 300 years of occupation by the same family, the Penningtons. The house also has connections with Anne Boleyn, Marie Antoinette, Admiral Lord Nelson and Lord Byron.

All the “time-capsule” houses are usually open on Saturdays and Sundays and many offer guided tours. Some are open during the week and some require advance booking for guided tours. Admission runs about £6 for adults, with an additional fee of £3-£5 for guided tours. Some houses accept the “London Pass.”