Enfilade

A Fine Time to Be in London

Posted in on site by Editor on September 1, 2010

From LondonTown.com:

London Open House Weekend
London, 18-19 September 2010

So many of London’s architectural landmarks are closely guarded secrets, off-limits to Joe Public. It’s tantalising to imagine what goes on behind those closed doors. Well, thanks to the hugely popular London Open House Weekend , we need wonder no more. Almost 700 of the city’s buildings – including the Bank of England – take part in this fantastic, free yearly event, now in its 17th year, by opening their doors to everyone. London Open House Weekend offers a wealth of historical landmarks to choose from including some of the most beautiful architectural achievements in the city. You can also get inside some of the grandest private homes in your own neighbourhood – it’s a voyeur’s dream come true. For the more serious students of contemporary design, this is a chance to visit spaces by famous modern architects. An inspired idea and a real treat whether
you’re a lover of architecture or just plain nosy. . .

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Well-known Georgian buildings — Chiswick House, Handel House Museum, Dr. Johnson’s House, Osterley Park House, &c.  — are open for free, but the real opportunities lie in visiting sites that are usually closed (or open only for group tours). A search by period turns up 98 matches. Here’s just a sampling, with descriptions from the Open House site:

Bower House — Grade I listed Mansion House commanding the most extensive southerly views over Essex towards Kent. Leading landscape designer Charles Bridgman and Sir James Thornhill (best known for his wall paintings at Blenheim Palace) were involved with the design.

Dover House, Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland — Elegant Whitehall facade and domed entrance commissioned by the Duke of York. Interesting original interiors.

The House of St Barnabas — Soho’s grandest Grade I listed Georgian townhouse. Fine Roccoco plasterwork commissioned 1754. Victorian Oxford Movement Chapel built 1862 by Joseph Clarke. Owned by the House of St Barnabas, a charity assisting vulnerable people back to independent living.

The Lansdowne Club — Robert Adam house, partly demolished in 1931 and reconstructed as a club house in the Art Deco style, retaining 5 original rooms. Restoration work ongoing.

The Naval Club — Grade II listed Georgian town house c1748-1750 reputed to have been 18C residence of William Pitt the Younger. First floor suite decorated in ornate white and gold ‘Louis XVI’ style. Dark stock brick building with Ionic porch and moulded architraves to sash windows.

Nonsuch Mansion — Tudor Gothic mansion, designed for wealthy merchant Samuel Farmer, in the style later used at Windsor Castle (ca. 1740 and 1806). The service wing has been restored and includes dairy, kitchen, scullery, larders and laundry.

Watermen’s Hall — Only remaining Georgian Hall in the City of London, and perfect example of domestic architecture of the period.

Details and full listings are available here»