Our 2011 Gamble House tour of the UK came to Red House. It's pretty much a holy mecca for anyone wishing to learn about English Arts and Crafts and William Morris.
The home is located in Bexleyheath, just outside of London. It was the home and gathering place for Morris and his art friends. It was the only home commissioned, created and lived in by William Morris. He and his wife Jane lived here for only five years, he lost the home due to financial reasons. It was said the Morris vowed never to return here or see the house again as he could not bear it. He loved this place.
The house come back to the National Trust in 2002. Private people have lived in the home when Morris left it in 1865. They are slowly working to bring it back to the original condition that it was when Morris lived her. It was interesting seeing some of the wall removal, where old Morris murals have been uncovered.
I was impressed by the Burne-Jones stained glass, whimsical windows (I liked the rooster windows best) and the Morris wallpaper on the walls. The very Morris educated staff showed us around the two floors and you can only imagine what social events and dinners took place in these walls for the short time Morris called it home.
Morris believed the gardens were rooms and were as important as the house. The National Trust is doing a wonderful job bringing the gardens back to life. The flowers were amazing and it was nice to walk around in the herb and vegetable gardens. I could see why Morris called these "rooms".
The house does have a nice gift shop with a lot of great books on Morris and his works. It has some replicas of his fabrics and patterns. There is also a tearoom for light refreshments on the property.
Red House is a "must see" for anyone wanting to learn more about William Morris and the English Arts and Craft movement. It's a beautiful spot and well worth the trip outside of London.
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