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Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Boroughs of London (3): Bexley

When I chose the London Boroughs as the topic for this series I should have thought it through a bit more. It should have been called 'A Review of Some of the More Interesting and Historical London Boroughs'. Bexley would not have been on that list! However, I have often said that, if one keeps digging, something interesting can be found about almost any topic......
The London Borough of Bexley shown in green in the south-east of London, just south of the Thames.
The village of Bexley, after which the Borough is named, has a charter dating from 834 but hardly any other local places are mentioned in the 11th century Domesday Book. It didn't really start growing quickly until the 17th century and the development of the railways in the 19th century was a major impetus for growth. It still has a tremendous amount of green open spaces. The population now is around 237,000 blah, blah, blah.
The most important building is Hall Place, which is Grade 1 listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It was formerly a private stately home but is now owned by the local authority and houses a museum and several galleries. I don't know for sure but I bet it's available for wedding receptions.
Hall Place built around 1540. The second wing, on the right, was added about 100 years later.
I don't think you could say that the architecture is sympathetic to the original building.

Bexley is also renowned for being the location of the only house built by and lived-in by William Morris, founder of the 19th century Arts and Crafts movement.
Located at Bexleyheath, the house is uniquely built of striking red brick. It is now owned and run by the National Trust and open to the public. And, big surprise, it has a tea room! The house is a fabulous example of one man creating his own dream home. He was not the architect but he put in plenty of ideas including hanging paintings by Edward Burne Jones. There is also a very charming garden where one can stroll and imagine what it must have been like to live there.
I knew I would find something interesting there!
Next in this series: The London Borough of Brent, home of Wembley, the national football stadium.
Continuing my new experiment of naming the music I am listening to while posting or commenting - right now it's Bette Midler singing 'Buckets of Rain' duetting with the writer of the song, Bob Dylan. 


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Of course, we in the US do not have homes of grandure dating back to the 16th century so this is very interesting for me to see. However, like GB, homes somewhat like these that were built in the 19th century by rich railroad barons or the like, are now in the hands of historic societies. It is either that or they are torn down to make way for more modern homes or shopping centers.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

I'm torn between the two, as to a favourite. I love the gray but I love the red. The Hall Place garden would be great for a wedding not just the reception! I love the fact that they're both open to the public. Would love to visit!! Bazza you find the nicest, most inviting spots, to dazzle us! Thank you.

bazza said...

Arleen: Ah yes but I have seen some of the grand mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. They may not have the age but they surely have the grandeur and history......and they haven't been knocked down yet!

bazza said...

Dixie: Just showing off! If you've got it flaunt it baby.
There are two particular organisations over here that do great work in preserving and opening these kind of places: The National Trust and English Heritage.

John said...

Hi Bazza!
You just have to keep digging!
The house previously owned by William Morris featured in the One Show last week, Arthur Smith stayed a night there and told the tale of the house and all that went on there. Did you know (and I am sure that you do!) that Morris sold the house after he and his wife separated as he couldn't bare to live there any more and he never returned?

bazza said...

Well I suppose a gardener would say that.....
I didn't see the one show and I thought it was merely financial matters that caused him to sell that house. I suppose in a way that it was!

klahanie said...

Bazza, old boy,

You have delighted me with this informative posting. Bexley is a place I have been. I should really get back down there and see my adoring Bexley fans.

What a choice of music, my dear fellow. As for me, I'm listening to "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies....

Toodle pip and have a smashing weekend.


bazza said...

Gary: You get around a bit, don't you? I'm sure the Bexley branch of your fan club would need to hire Hall Place for their AGM!
'Sugar Sugar' is one of those tunes that you can't help singing along with - even if you don't really like it.
You enjoy your weekend too my friend.