Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Day trip to Kelmscott Manor

Met up with an internet friend today and we visited the country home of William Morris an artist and designer of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Kelmscott - his country home is very near to where I live and I had never visited it before, it is also on the edge of 3 counties in England (just like my house) and sits on the River Thames (unlike my house!). Obviously the River Thames looks very different here in comparison to London, and as you know the source of the Thames is in the Cotswolds not far from Kelmscott.

So this is what the Thames looks like as it runs beside the gardens of William Morris's house. Willow trees line the embankments and there is a small bridge crossing it.

We arrived at the house just before lunch, and although there were a few visitors, it was not too crowded. The house was originally known as Lower farm and was built in the middle of the 1600's. We were eager to see the interior decorations of the house.The embroideries, tapestries, furniature, wallpapers and curtains were instantly recognisable as many are still produced today. It was a joy to see the "originals" though. We were able to visit right up into the attic rooms, where the servant quarters were located. The stairs to the loft space were very quirky...going up was easy......coming down needed a bit of fore thought and planning, especially as I was wearing a skirt!

We then went into the gardens which surround the house, we managed to persuade a very nice young man to take a photo of us with the house and garden as a backdrop, as proof to all our mates we were at Kelmscott Manor today.

Yes, you are right we are feeling cold by this stage, the sun had disappeared behind the clouds as we decide to go around the gardens - typical. All the time we had been in the house, it was glorious sunshine. I was curious as we wandered around the house, there were no signs of personal cleansing facilities or sanitation. In other words no bathrooms or toilets, there were some closets, which I thought might have been en-suites, but no. Undeterred we endevoured to seek them out! We eventually found the earth closets at the bottom of the garden. The water pump, and hot water copper were in an outhouse called the "brewhouse" which also had the bread oven and laundry. Presumably the servants took water into the house to tin baths placed in front of the open fires...or maybe thay all bathed in the Thames.

This is obviously the outside view of the earth closets ( the door has been removed) with the climbing rose around the doorway- we sincerely hoped it was a heavily scented rose - and the vegetable garden in front. Going down the path for a closer inspection revealed 3 "thrones".

A most enjoyable day out and in time honoured English style, we finished the visit with a cup of tea, in the restaurant. If you are ever in the vicinity and love arty crafty stuff, can thoroughly recommend a visit. By the way, they do have modern sanitation facilities for visitors now. Thought you would be pleased to know that!


Carol said...

Maggie, It certainly looks as if you both had a lovely day, wish I lived closer, maybe Mags and I can make a trip in the summer:)

winterchild said...

Great photos Maggie...glad you had a great looks cold!!!! Dear me what happened to my *winterchild*!!! I have been looking at earlier entries too and have to say your blog has inspired me to at least start some ideas for soem art work....I may not do it but I am *inspired* ;o)
x Bobby