Wednesday 16 September was the last outing for 2009 with the Society - a
full coach made its way down to Bex1ey to visit two very different
houses. As only fifteen at a time could go around the Red House we made
four trips during the day from our base in Danson House.
The Red House was commissioned by William Morris in 1859 as a family
home and designed by Philip Webb. It was constructed of warm red brick
under a red tiled roof and has a strong Gothic influence. When it was
built it was surrounded by orchards and fields but now is in the middle
of a housing estate. The garden 'clothes' the house on four sides with
subdivided areas as in Morris's time. We were taken round by two
excellent guides who pointed out things of interest including fixed
furniture used by Morris and original Burne-Jones stained glass. They
answered all our questions and made the tour most interesting.
The other house we visited was Danson House, a fine Palladian villa
built in 1766 ~ designed by Sir Robert Tay1or - but by 1995 it was
riddled by wet and dry rot, with no slates on the roof and the west bay
had collapsed. English Heritage stepped in and joined later by the
Bexley Heritage Trust returned it to its original glory in ten years.
Again excellent guides took us around and explained the 18th century
history. There was an interesting kitchen area in the basement with
many old implements laid out to view. Most of us enjoyed the food and
drink on offer. The weather was kind to us on the day - before, it had
poured - so we were also able to enjoy the gardens in the park.
[Editor: Sir Robert Taylor also designed Heveningham Hall, which many
members will have seen.]