Saturday, 18 March 2017

South of the River

I am down South for a couple of days.

Portchester Castle. The castle is medieval and in the remains of a Roman Fort

St Mary's, Portchester is within the Roman walls

The font at St Peter's, Titchfield

The Ionic temple at Petworth

Saturday, 25 February 2017


Where to today? Well the house at Osterley was open today so a change is as good as a rest! 

The original house was built  in 1570 for Sir Thomas Gresham. Two Hundred years later the house was falling into disrepair and was remodelled by Robert Adam for Sir Francis Child.

Osterley passed in the family of the Earl's of Jersey.

George Child Villiers, 9th Earl of Jersey opened Osterley to the public in 1939 after having received many requests to see its historic interior. The Earl justified his decision by saying that it was "sufficient answer that he did not live in it and that many others wished to see it";  some 12,000 people subsequently visited the house in its first month of opening. 

During the second World War it was used for training Local Defence Volunteers.

The 9th Earl assisted the Ministry of Works and the V&A in the restoration of the house and in 1991 donated it to the National Trust.

Ironically the entrance hall of the house also appeared as a room in an upmarket central London hotel in the denouement of the 2007 ITV adaptation of At Bertram's Hotel. And as I type this that is on the telly!!!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Swan

A couple of pictures of a Swan serenely swimming along the river Stour at Flatford Mill

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Sudbury Hall

Sudbury Hall was built by the prolific Vernon family (branches of the family were everywhere) between 1660 and 1680 and I suppose counts as a restoration house. It is notable for its great staircase and long gallery.

It is now in the care of the National Trust and is one of my favourite properties, not just for its architecture and art. It contains the rather wonderful Museum of Childhood which is a nostalgia fest!!


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Kedleston Hall

Kedleston Hall is a large property owned by the National Trust in Derbyshire. It was the seat of the Curzon family (one of whom was viceroy of India hence the property contains many fine Indian artifacts).

The house was designed by the Palladian architects James Paine and Matthew Brettingham and was loosely based on an original plan by Andrea Palladio for the never-built Villa Mocenigo. At the time a relatively unknown architect, Robert Adam was designing some temples for the garden to enhance the park. The then Lord Curzon was so impressed Adam was put in charge of the new mansion.

The church is in the care of the excellent Churches Conservation Trust.... it is one of my favourites.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Black & White in Black & White

The North West of England is noted for its black & white timbered halls.

Little Morton Hall is a half timbered moated manor house parts of which date to 1504. It was built upon by the Moreton family until 1610. The floors are totally uneven and makes you  think you had drunk too much!!  There is little original furniture in the house but it is a fascinating building to walk around. The gardens were long abandoned and the NT have replanted in a Tudor style.

Speke Hall was selected as one of approx 20 houses to get 5 stars in Simon Jenkins 1000 best houses and is one of the few I had never visited.

Speke was started in 1530 and is a wood framed wattle and daub Tudor building. Whereas Little Moreton is untouched at Speke the Victorians had their way.

Saturday, 26 November 2016


It was a foggy start but the sun came through and it turned into a  glorious day. I ended up at Ickworth House