Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Boston Manor House


Monday 7 May 2018

Boston Manor is one of those stations that you go through on your way to Heathrow, or possibly Osterley.  But this Bank Holiday Monday, Linda and I got out, and we were glad we had.  

We walked the few hundred metres to Boston Manor Park, and wandered around admiring the wood sculpture, and the pond and the wonderful, huge cedar trees

We then made our way down towards the River Brent, which involved following the tunnel made by the M4, which was built though the park in the days before we realised that road building is rarely a solution to traffic issues. The grim ambience was only enlivened by some fairly unskilled graffiti.

As we walked back, we were amazed by the large number of sun bathers on this beautiful day, some of them wearing very little.

And then it was 12 noon, and time to visit Boston Manor itself.  It is free to enter, since it is in the care of Hounslow Borough Council; and while there are not many rooms to see, they are very impressive.  Built in 1623 for Lady Mary Reade, it was bought by a wealthy merchant in the 1670s, and renovated by the Clitherow family.

The dining room is handsome, and William IV and his wife once dined here, as guests of Colonel Clitherow, over 150 years after the first Clitherow purchased the house . On the table is information about the family, and the epergne presented to the Colonel on the occasion of his retiring from various public offices.

We liked the way some of the panelling had been removed so that we could see the structure behind it, and we also admired  the paintwork on the ceiling.  The carving above the fireplace was also interesting.

The stairs are rather fine, with painted armorial motifs on the stairposts.  There is a banister up one side, and on the other, a clever trompe l'oeil of banisters, painted onto the wall.  Something to try on our own narrow stairs, we thought

Upstairs, you come to a magnificent state drawing room.  From the windows, you get a fine view of the park, so it was great to have a notice with an extract from the expenses book of James Clitherow III in the 1780s, recording that in 1754 he had planted the seeds which became his cedar trees.
But rather than looking out, we needed to look up, at the remarkable plaster work of the ceiling, which has medallions of the four elements and of the senses among its decorative twirls.

Above the mantelpiece  is Abraham, about to slaughter Isaac, with an angel grasping his blade to prevent him.

The other room upstairs is designated the state bedroom, though is not furnished as such.  But it has 'Hope' on its ceiling and is handsomely proportioned.  I told the informative and friendly volunteer we spoke to that it felt like a house one could live in.  She responded with some unsavoury information about sewage disposal and the River Brent flowing nearby......
Back on the ground floor, we popped into what had been the library, and thought that the standing desk was rather an attractive piece of furniture.
As we left the park, we wondered whether there had been a stable block, and if so, what it had now become;  but there was no indication that it was open to the public
All in all, we thought it a place well worth visiting, and we look forward to hearing whether the funding comes through for further renovation.  You can read more about it all here.

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