London Riebau Blandford Street 1805 SIT

Site Description: 
Place, in the Marylebone area of London, where Michael Faraday was apprentice bookbinder to Mr George Riebau from 7 October 1805 for 7 years. Originally numbered 2 Blandford Street, it is now numbered 48. Riebau, recognising Faraday’s talent, facilitated Faraday’s intellectual development, allowing him to read scientific books that passed through the shop, to visit waterworks and the like and to attend lectures, and to use a backroom as a laboratory outside working hours. While with Riebau, Faraday made an electrostatic generator which is now in the Royal Institution, London and constructed two voltaic piles and used them to electrolyse aqueous solutions. After the apprenticeship ended, Faraday became a journeyman for the bookbinder Henry de la Roche in King Street (now the part of Blandford Street to the west of Baker Street). The prospect of remaining in bookbinding put Faraday in "very low spirits". But on 1 March 1813 Faraday was appointed laboratory assistant at the Royal Institution. The modern building is recognisable from a contemporary drawing of Riebau's shop, though it now comprises a sandwich bar, a property consultancy, and two apartments. The Society of Arts (now the Royal Society of Arts) in 1875-1876 erected a plaque on the building which reads, "MICHAEL FARADAY/MAN OF SCIENCE./APPRENTICE HERE./B. 1791./D. 1867".
Type of Site
Site of Chemistry: 
Yes
Site of Alchemy: 
No
Laboratory: 
Yes
Teaching Room: 
No
Location
Pinned Location: 
Accuracy: 
Accurate
Historical Location
Historical Country: 
England
Historical City: 
London
Historical Street: 
Blandford Street
Historical Building Number: 
2
Current Location
Country: 
England
City: 
London
Address: 
48 Blandford Street
Period of Operation
Pre-history: 
bookshop without Michael Faraday as apprentice
Post-history: 
bookshop without Michael Faraday as apprentice
Activities at the Site
Notes: 
Reference: Michael Jewess, “Faraday’s ‘blue’ plaque – commemorating a remarkable master as well as a remarkable servant”, Royal Society of Chemistry, Historical Group, Newsletter and Summary of Papers, Summer 2013, 64, 35-41; reprinted Institute of Physics, History of Physics Group, Newsletter, December 2014, 32, 9-15. This reference discusses the renaming of King Street and the renumbering of Blandford Street, the Society of Arts' plaque scheme, and Faraday's time in the Marylebone area of London. It contains the drawing of the shop, photographs, a map, and further references.
Start Year: 
1805
End Year: 
1812