Around the same time we bought our Morris 8 the National Trust were appealing for funds to enable them to open Nuffield Place, the home of William Morris, Lord (later Viscount) Nuffield.
Here we are nearly two years later and the house is now open to all although the NT do admit it is a 'work in progress'. Even though I'm no great fan of the National Trust, we just had to visit, not only because of our interest in Morris cars and Mr Morris (he's always referred to as Mr Morris in our house!) but because the house has a classic 1930's style. This, coupled with the fact that I knew Mr Morris was a thrifty gentleman who hated waste meant I was hoping for a 'time capsule' of a house and I certainly wasn't disappointed. Of course, this is what interests the National Trust.
Say the name William Morris to most people and they'll probably think firstly of that wallpaper bloke.
But, Lord Nuffield should be as well, if not better known as he not only gave so much to this country and indeed the world through his car production but also gave away the incredible sum of £30 million pounds to charitable causes, a sum that equals £700 million today. Some claim it's even more. His philanthropy is even now still being felt through such organisations as The Nuffield Foundation and Nuffield College, Oxford to which he endowed nearly a million pounds towards it's founding in 1937.
By the way, this isn't a post about cars, just pictures (lots and lots!) of a wonderful house that should be high on your list of places to visit if you like old houses in general, 1930's interiors in particular and love vintage as much as I do. It's a vintage-lovers dream and we couldn't stop oohing, ahhing and gasping all the way around the house. I don't know what the other visitors must have thought!
So, last week we set off on the long drive south to Henley-on-Thames on what turned out to be a lovely sunny, warm day to visit the home of a gentleman for whom we have nothing but admiration.
(As I have so many pictures to share, I'm splitting them into two posts. Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them)
|The great man himself. There are several portraits of him in the house although he was said to dislike sitting for them.|
|The billiard room was added in 1933 after Lord Nuffield purchased the house.|
|Between the hall and the billiard room is a small ante-room containing Lord Nuffield's tweed jackets...|
|along with one of the bicycles he built and a lovely marble basin (just seen)|
|The formal drawing room|
|The Radiogram dates from 1932 and cost 80 guineas.|
|The dining room table all ready for a dinner party.|
|The small, informal sitting room was used by the Morrises on a more everyday basis than the Drawing room, which was saved for entertaining.|
|There are many personal belongings of Lord and Lady Nuffield around the house and you really do get the feeling of them just having stepped out for a short while.|
|The couple were great dog lovers and owned Scotties.|
|The wonderful television was bought in 1955 and cost the equivalent of £110, an astounding amount of money!|
|Some of my favourite parts of the house were the erm...facilities so be prepared for lots of pictures of bathrooms and loos! Many of the tiles are Poole Pottery and were added when the Morrises 'modernised' the house in the early 30's.|
Another of my favourite rooms although one of the smallest was what the NT termed The Butlers Pantry although I very much doubt Mr Morris employed a butler. I do know they had a housekeeper though.
|The actual kitchen is not open to the public although it apparently contains an Esse range and a Pressed Steel fridge... oooooh!|
|It's basically Deb's dream kitchen!|
|Lord Nuffield attended the Coronation of George VI in 1937 and his lordly robes are on display.|
|This guest room has quilted soft furnishings of yellow fabric, decorated with pink roses ~ very pretty.|
|Another lovely primrose bathroom suite with quilted curtains to match the furnishings in the guest room next door.|
|Lady Nuffield's bedroom.|
|Lady Nuffield's dressing room has been recreated, presumably because as she died a few years before her husband, her belongings were no longer in the house.|
|It has been faithfully dressed with a lovely selection of items that you would have expected to find in a lady's dressing room of the period.|
|I have the same Archway stockings...I wonder if the NT acquired them on ebay like me?!|
|I'll take the Bullnose AND the cottage please. Or failing that, just the picture!|
|From the house, there are views towards the Thames Valley (I'm reliably informed)|
|In the sunroom is another wonderful TV.|
|This room was converted from an open balcony around 1933 and apparently Lord Nuffield often slept in here rather than in his own bedroom next door. It also connects to Lady Nuffield's bedroom.|
|Lord Nuffield's room has an obvious masculine feel and is full of fascinating objects.|
|There are lots of items in the house monogrammed with either 'N' or 'WRM'.|
|In one corner is his tool cupboard. I had heard about this seemingly strange addition to a bedroom and although I knew it was small I was still expecting some sort of ante-room when in fact it's just a wardrobe!|
|He loved anything mechanical and was very handy, even mending shoes in here! There are also many clocks in the house that he would repair himself.|
|Apparently, if he could not sleep he would get up and tinker in the tool cupboard!|
|The trunk of a well-travelled man. He loved a sea voyage and not only cruised regularly for pleasure but would also go by sea to conduct business in far-flung places such as Australia. Lady Nuffield did not travel with him.|
To be continued....!