Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ham House in Surrey

The B&B we had been staying at was not able to accommodate us for our last night in London so The Heiress and I had to pack up and relocate elsewhere in Bloomsbury.  Too early to claim our room we had to leave our belongings in the hallway of reception and put all notion of them being anything other than safe, aside.  We were off to Surrey on our last full day in England and it wasn't long before the traffic and crowds of central London were all but forgotten.  Arriving at the Richmond station we then had to board a bus for a short ride through town, passing charming neighbourhoods and homes along the way.  My fantasy of buying a home in England with my imagined lottery winnings just got a tad more difficult, it's so lovely here!

The house has a completion date of 1610 inscribed on the front door (there has since been many renovations) and the entrance hall still has its original marble floor.  The photo above was taken from the second story railing.  The hall chairs were supplied at a cost of £1 in 1730, decorated with the coat of arms of the 4th Earl of Dysart.  Just imagine the people who have trod back and forth it over the decades...

The coronet and cipher in the Queen's Closet.  I was excited to find this detail on the floor after Lucy Worsley pointed it out in her documentary If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home.

Other, more domestic details, were every bit as interesting, such as buckets on hooks lining a discreet hallway.  Some of them, if not all, would be filled with sand so as to be at the ready in case of fire.  The dog in the portrait looks as though he does a very good job of keeping an eye on things, don't you think?

The Duchess would bathe in the lower level of the house.  A tub this size would have required a good many trips back and forth from the fireplace with loads and loads of buckets of hot water.  The wages for a housemaid in 1668 were £4 per annum.  I was a bit disappointed that the stunning collection of copper pots and pans in the kitchen have been removed to be more in keeping with the seventeenth-century period detail. 

After several hours spent exploring this handsome house, wandering the grounds, stuffing ourselves with Coronation Chicken sandwiches and lemonade in the cafe while Halloween-costumed children enjoyed romping about, it was time to move on.  Oh, if every day could be like this, I half expected to see Hyacinth Bucket stroll in with Richard.  As we waved good-bye and set off on the path back through the village I couldn't resist taking a picture of the above young lady, cooling down her horse after a good ride.  But they weren't my primary focus, it was the hilarious sight of the little dog absolutely covered in mud from the belly down.  No doubt trying to keep up through an afternoon of muck and mire on the trails.

I can't wait to come back for another visit to Richmond and Ham House!  For more information on the house, click here.


  1. You'll definitely be needing that lottery win if you're house-hunting there, Darlene! May I come and be your lodger?
    I'm sure Hyacinth Bucket is a NT member!
    Funny, I don't remember that bathtub ... how could I have missed it!

  2. Fabulous photos, so glad you saw the best of England. Hyacinth Bucket! Heh.