Posts Tagged ‘Eltham Palace’

Eltham Palace (10): Bedrooms

Posted: May 11, 2018 in History, London, UK
Tags:

Each of the Bedrooms at Eltham Palace is individually designed and decorated.

The Pear Bedroom, so called because all the furnishings are made from Pearwood.

The Venetian Suite

Virginia Courtauld’s suite themed on a classical temple

My personal favourite bedroom in the house. I love the wall prints and the wooden furnishings plus that hidden door.

Eltham Palace (9): Dining Room

Posted: April 27, 2018 in History, London, UK
Tags:

DSCN7794-2

On the opposite side of the entrance hall from the drawing room is the Dining Room. It is the most strikingly art deco room in the whole house.

 

DSCN7784-2

The Italian themed drawing room is entered directly from the entrance hall.

It is a lovely spacious room and was probably a guests first impression of the house when they arrived.

DSCN7668-3

As you enter from the gardens through the entrance hall you are immediately struck by the beauty of the amazing reception room that lies beyond. With corridors and stairways leading off of it this room acts as a central focal point for the whole house.

 

DSCN7748-5

This is perhaps my favourite room in the house with its wonderful simplicity and amazing woodwork

 

Eltham Palace is approached from the town centre across a bridge which spans the moat and leads you into the inner garden which runs alongside the northern wing into the area which would have formed the courtyard of the Medieval Palace.

 

The gardens which incorporate the remains of the medieval palace along with the house are a great place to walk in the summer and are a great place for butterflies and dragonflies. They also give some great views of the House.

At one point in the garden, there is a great vista looking north towards central London.

DSCN7821-11

 

The Courtaulds moved into their new house in 1933 and stayed there until  May 1944 when they finally decided to move away from London because of the bombing. The house was leased to the Royal Army Educational Corps as a base from which it ran army schools overseas and administered examinations. The RAEC remained at Eltham until 1992.

RAEC at Eltham in the 1960s

The house passed to the Ministry of Works. A programme of repairs was carried out and it was opened to the public with the focus on the medieval remains on the site. English Heritage acquired responsibility for the Great Hall in 1984 and for the whole site in 1995 and set about a major refurbishment plan for the 20th century part of the property, the first stage of which took 5 years. A further set of rooms were opened to the public in 2013 following refurbishment.

Restoring the house to the 1930s look during the 1995-9 restoration

In the early 1930’s, Stephen and Virginia Courtauld were looking for land on the edge of London to build a house and they settled on the site at Eltham, taking out a 99-year lease from the Crown.

DSCN7743-5

The builders in the 1930’s demolishing the farm buildings to make way for the new house. The Great Hall can be seen in the background

Their plan for Eltham was to build an ultra-modern home whilst retaining as much as possible of the historic palace. This was a challenging commitment and aroused some controversy at the time. The Great Hall was to be restored and incorporated into the house, whilst many of the other remains were to be incorporated into garden features, thus maintaining the historical remains intact.

DSCN7854-6

The completed house incorporating the Medieval Great hall (top left)

The exterior of the new house, in a ‘Wrenaissance’ style partly inspired by Hampton Court, is designed to complement the great hall. The interior styles (ranging from historical to moderne) resulted both from the Courtaulds’ own tastes and from the architects, designers and craftsmen they commissioned.

              The connection of 20th and 15th centuries (left) and the grand entrance to the house (right).

When the Courtauld’s arrived at Eltham in the early 1930’s all that remained from the medieval palace was the Great Hall, ruined and being used as a barn for the farm that had been established on the site, along with the foundations of other buildings.

However, in addition to the remains of the Palace ranges, which were incorporated into the gardens of the new house, there were also smaller pieces of history to be found in the ruined Palace.

 13th-century-floor tile probably from original Great Hall (top). 15th-century-floor tile probably from Edward IV’s rebuild (bottom left). Spanish 16th-century-floor tile (centre right) and Dutch 16th-century-floor tile with the cheery message ‘Death is swift’

Stephen Courtauld also incorporated some medieval stained glass into his new house and it is possible that some of this he found on site.

 

All that survived from the Medieval and Tudor palace at Eltham was the Great Hall and the foundations of other buildings which were later incorporated into the gardens of the 1930’s re-build.

The Great hall 1811

The Great Hall from an engraving of 1804

The Great Hall 1900

The Great Hall 1911

It was to this site that Stephen and Virginia Courtauld came in the early 1930’s to create their iconic home

The Great Hall today

Remains of Medieval palace in gardens

Remains of Medieval palace in gardens

This article was originally posted in 2013. I am re-posting it as an introduction to some new blogs on the interior of the Palace.

The medieval moated manor house with extensive parkland was acquired by King Edward II in 1305. In 1470 King Edward IV added the Great Hall (which survives to this day). The last monarch who regularly used Eltham Palace was King Henry VIII. Afterwards, monarchs tended to prefer Greenwich Palace, probably because of easy access along the river from central London. In the mid-17th century Sir John Shaw, who by now owned the property, decided to build a new house, Eltham Lodge, about half a mile away from the current Palace site. The Palace fell into disuse and was used as a tenanted farm. The buildings fell into disrepair and it was only following a campaign in 1828, that the Great Hall was restored to a safe condition. It continued, however, to be used as a barn for the farm.
In the 1930s Stephen and Virginia Courthold had an ‘ultramodern’ house designed in the art deco style and built adjacent to the medieval Great Hall. They also had the gardens completely redesigned. They lived here until 1944 and at that time the building passed to the Army educational unit, who used it as a college until 1992. In 1994 English Heritage, having been given management of the property, started a four-year restoration programme to restore the building to the state it had been in the 1930s. The newly restored art deco house together with the Great Hall opened to the public in 1999.

DSC01096

DSC01100

DSC01099

DSC01094

For details about visiting please go to: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/eltham-palace-and-gardens/