Eltham is a unique marriage between a medieval and Tudor palace and a 1930s millionaire’s mansion. From the 14th to the 16th century it was an important royal palace, where monarchs often stayed and hunted in the surrounding parks. After centuries of neglect, Eltham was leased to Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in 1933, who built an up-to-the-minute house here that incorporated the great hall. The result was a masterpiece of 20th-century design.source
Getting off a Southeastern train at Eltham Station, I thought for a moment that I'd been delivered to the jungle ~
But just a short way into my walk to the palace, it was obvious that this was a particularly green and pleasant part of London ~
This sign provoked some unseemly American snickering on my part ~
The retiree version of drugstore cowboys?
Crossing the bridge to Eltham Palace ~
A might hunter stalks the moat ~
Part of the retaining wall over the moat ~
The first sight of the palace shows clearly the marriage of different centuries ~
Thank you, Mick. If you visit, note that some of the glamor is worn in places. This poor house was rode hard and put up wet over a period of almost fifty years. Then, when the Ministry of Works took it over, their renovation ignored the '30s portion to the point of destroying some of the pieces. The good news is that English Heritage is now in charge and is "systematically restoring the principal interiors of the 20th-century house to their appearance in the time of the Courtaulds, and the gardens to conserve surviving features from the Courtauld era and maintain the integrity of a 1930s garden." When you get a chance, read the link in the OP which is pretty interesting.
In the second photo above of the grand living room, you can see the first steps of this staircase and its twin on the opposite side of the front door ~
Looking down through an upstairs window at the moat and the rock garden ~
And through another window we can see part of the original palace ~
One feels one would find Jongy less than adorable ~
There were some beautiful old pieces of furniture set randomly throughout the house ~
A bust of Mrs. Courtauld ~
On one of the sites I read before visiting Eltham, it stated that on certain days people could try on Virginia's clothes. I think not.
More fabulous marquetry ~
Mrs. C's bedroom ~
I have to apologize here as I realize I didn't take pictures of any of the other bedrooms, all of which had the flavor of the '30s.
Usually I was waiting for someone to leave a room or for some yahoo transfixed by his audio guide to stop drifting between me and the picture I wanted to take. I must have just given up!
Map of the grounds. There is a long narrow room parallel to this one that's covered with maps. Seek it out if you visit ~
Some last views from upstairs ~
Here is a view of London that the Courtaulds never saw ~
And some views from the upper gallery down into the great hall and another century ~
Wonderful to see a different style from so many of those palaces. It takes a lot of courage to refuse to renovate in the style of the original design and so something else. I'm not sure about the bathtub, though. Can you use Ajax on those tiles?
No you can't. They're press 'n' stick, so might come off. Some Ajax might whiten up Psyche nicely, though.
I agree completely about the use of a different style. This is from another source which I'll reference again later in the thread:
The present buildings at Eltham Palace combine a mediaeval hall with a modernist house, built in the 1930s ... The Great Hall was part of the old royal palace which was a dwelling until the time of Henry VIII ... Edward IV spent large sums of money on repairs and probably built the Banqueting Hall around 1480. It suffered under Cromwell, and fell into disrepair over the years until only the hall remained ... It was threatened with demolition in the nineteenth century and encroached upon by development in the twentieth, but was rescued and restored by Sir Stephen Courtauld who leased the Palace and surrounding lands in 1933 from the Commissioners for Crown Lands. He built a luxurious new house, Eltham Hall (1933-37), joined at an angle to the Great Hall ... There were objections to the principle of building a modern structure onto an ancient monument and much debate around the propriety of doing so and how to preserve the surrounding ruins. The scheme was also welcomed however, as a means of preventing further encroachment of suburban housing on the site.
Last Edit: Jul 15, 2017 18:12:01 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smiley
Leaving the elegance of Eltham Palace, I retrace my steps to the train station and just a little beyond. Here is a park so lovely and so beautifully maintained that it's hard to believe it's right off a loud, busy road and open to the public at all times.
Another (or the same?) fuzzy friend giving the ol' ribs a good scratching ~
So many different parts to wander ~
There are marshy areas with a little creek. I love this dwarf Equisetum ~
Old ceilings fascinate me. Even though a roof may have stood for 8 centuries, I still wonder how it's managing to stay up there. Builders knew what they were doing back then, or if they didn't there's no evidence still around to tell on them. Ever since I learned about St Andrew's cross as a stabilizer I always look for it, and I think I see something that might be a variant, in #6, the black/white photo and the following one. Maybe somebody here knows if the octagonal opening could serve as a stabilizer?
In #8, the bed with two shades of the same plant is one of the most delicate, subtle combinations I've seen. If it's alyssum, it makes me rethink my lack of enthusiasm for alyssum. Or could it be aubrietia or something else? I want a bunch of them.
A St Andrew's cross in a roof sits upright to connect the ridge beam with a sub-beam directly below it. The triangles of the roof trusses are themselves stable side to side, but something is needed to prevent the trusses from flopping over, and the upright x of the cross does that. I'm not explaining this very well. Luckily I have a photo or two. At the moment Flickr won't let me edit my photo, so maybe I'll come back to mine later because it shows the upright cross.
One of my favorite blogs is Days on the Claise, by two Australians living in France who've settled in very well to the community of Preuilly sur Claise. Both Simon and Susan are interested in everything, and you never know what you'll come across on their daily blog. Of course when I wanted a photo of a St Andrew's cross I found one on their blog, though it's a horizontal cross.
If you look at the link, you'll see that they've linked to a horizontal St Andrews cross in their own roof.
Susan and Simon offer custom tours of the Loire chateaux, wineries, gardens, villages, markets, and many surprising things through their company Loire Valley Time Travel. They have two classic Citroen Avants. You ride in style!