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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 Bexleyheath DA6
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 suburban Kent, England is a key building in the history of the Arts and Crafts movement 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 warm red brick with a steep tiled roof and an emphasis on natural materials. Red House forms an early essay in a romantically-massed, non-historical, brick-and-tile domestic vernacular style; it has diverse windows and a beautiful stairway.

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 an integral part of the house, providing a seamless experience. 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 give up the house for financial reasons in 1865, Morris vowed upon leaving never to return. He said 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. Yorkshire-born draper Henry Maufe lived here with his wife Maude from 1903 until his death in 1910, his widow remaining at the house until 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.

Window detail in Red House

The National Trust acquired Red House in 2002 and is carrying out further restoration and research to restore the house as closely 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.

External links

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