Red House (London)

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Red House
The Red House, Bexleyheath.JPG
View of Red House from the garden
Type Historic house
Proprietor National Trust
Main feature William Morris
Other features Arts and Crafts
Public access Yes
Exhibition Yes
Region Greater London
Address Red House Lane
Postcode DA6 8JF
Refreshments Yes
Parking On street
Shop Yes
Website NT Red House
51°27′20″N 0°7′49″E / 51.45556°N 0.13028°E / 51.45556; 0.13028Coordinates: 51°27′20″N 0°7′49″E / 51.45556°N 0.13028°E / 51.45556; 0.13028

Red House in Bexleyheath in southeast London, England, is a major building of the history of the Arts and Crafts style and of 19th-century British architecture. It was designed in 1859 by its owner, William Morris, and the architect Philip Webb, with wall paintings and stained glass by Edward Burne-Jones. Morris wanted a home for himself and his new wife, Jane. He also desired to have a "Palace of Art" in which he and his friends could enjoy producing works of art. The house is of red brick with a steep tiled roof and an emphasis on natural materials. Red House is in a non-historical, brick-and-tile domestic style. It is now a Grade I listed building.

Window detail in Red House

The garden is also significant, being an early example of the idea of a garden as a series of exterior "rooms". Morris wanted the garden to be like an integral part of the house. The "rooms" consisted of a herb garden, a vegetable garden, and two rooms full of old-fashioned flowers—jasmine, lavender, quinces, and an abundance of fruit trees—apple, pear and cherry.

Morris lived with Jane in the house for only five years, during which time their two daughters, Jenny and May, were born. Forced to sell the house for financial reasons in 1865, Morris vowed never to return to it, saying that to see the house again would be more than he could bear.

The house was lived in as a family home for nearly 150 years. From 1889 until 1903 it was owned by Charles Holme, who later founded The Studio, an art magazine that also gave importance to arts and crafts.[1] From 1903 the architect Sir Edward Maufe, famous for designing Guildford Cathedral, lived in the house with his parents, Henry Maufe and his wife Maude. Henry Maufe died in the house in 1910 and Maude remained there until her death in 1919. In 1952, Ted and Doris Hollamby moved into Red House; they, along with the members of two other families, the Toms and the McDonalds, restored the house and reinstated many of the original arts and crafts features.

Blue plaque

The National Trust acquired Red House in 2002 and is performing further restoration and research to restore the house as much as possible to its original condition. The house is open to the public, but not every day; guided tours must be advance-booked and unguided visits are available for limited periods. Current information from National Trust link below. There is a tea room and a gift shop.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Julie F. Codell (2004). Holme, Charles (1848–1923). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press; online edition, May 2008. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33950. Accessed June 2013. (subscription required)

External links[edit]