Eltham Palace: 1930s Art Deco Palace & Gardens versus the Ancient (Part 1)

Posted by @NEILMUIR1 on
Eltham Palace is a place of many contrasts. First recorded in the Domesday book in 1086 AD, it was then owned by the Bishop of Bayeaux. In 1305 it was given to the Crown and taken over by King Edward II, a succession of monarchs then extended and improved it including King Henry IV and King Edward IV. King Henry VIII grew up here and both he and his daughter Queen Elizabeth I also added to it! The Last Royal resident was King Charles I, who lost the Palace and his life during the English civil war in 1648 when a lot of the Palace was demolished. It was during the 18th century that it was used as a barn, until in the 19th century people called for it to be restored! In 1933 the Courtaulds, a very rich family, leased the land and built an Art Deco Palace attached to the Great Hall that was built in 1470. As you will see they also did a bit to the Garden.

This is another Garden that would be impossible to tell the History of without the Palace.

To enlarge the pictures please click on them!

Walking up the steep alleyway from the road, the first views are portions of the House; then you'll see a bridge across the moat. The bridge was built by King Edward IV in his reign of 1442-1483. A stunning weeping willow is on one side of the bridge, the house is barely visible through the trees.

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The willow looking over the bridge from one of the original walls.

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You are sent straight forward into the Turning Circle; this is part of the 1930s Art Deco Palace that is attached to the Great Hall which was built in 1470 AD.

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Next to the Art Deco Palace is the Great Hall as can be seen in these two pictures. Now you can see why they call it the Turning Circle.

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This is the entrance to the 1930s Palace by the Turning circle. The Palace itself was ultra modern for its time with things like under floor heating, a sound system that ran through the house and a centralized vacuum cleaning system that worked through the skirting boards. Also due to the Courtaulds opulent life style; they had such things as en suite gold bathrooms and a centrally heated sleeping quarters for their pet lemur, who had a ladder so he could come down to the ground floor flower room.

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Some of the remains from the 1300s and other extensions including King Henry VIII's Private Chapel and others Queen Elizabeth I had built.

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There are lots of culverts\drains and sewers from the Tudor period. Here is one on the left. Some are blocked but others you can go through, as they are of course no longer used. As I have never been in a Tudor sewer, I had to have a look.

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As you go down the side to go onto the southern lawn this gentleman suddenly appears. Then you come to what I would call the front of the buildings. Here is the Great Hall and beyond it the 1930s Palace.

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The Great Hall with a magnificent Magnolia grandiflora.

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The difference between the two buildings clearly shows on the right side of this magnificent door, which is part of the 1470 Great Hall, attached to the connection to the 1930s Palace (enlarge the photo). From the corner of the 1930s Palace, looking down to the Great Hall.

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A picture of the front of the 1930s Palace from the moat\rockery side, and the front entrance.

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Some of the Art work on the side of the front entrance.

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Outside the entrance, purple leafed cannas and box hedges.

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The entrance to the Triangular Garden which is outside the kitchen and more box hedges!

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This wisteria was put over the collonades that were in fact rescued from the Bank of England in the 1930s, and just to the right is a Mulberry tree. The right photo is of the Mulberry fruit!

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Inside the Triangular Garden.

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Some more!

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I wanted to see the herbaceous border. On the left is the start of it, and on the right a lovely Buddleia globosa.

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More of the start of quite a big herbaceous border.

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I love this bit! The Flying Butressess can be seen here holding the walls up. A Norman invention from 1066 AD.

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The wooden bridge is clearly shown here, this used to go over the moat that encircled the Palace. This bit is now a 'Dry moat'. I love the white Lupins in the picture on the left!

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Looking back to a bit of the border as it extends beyond the wooden bridge, and some more looking forward!

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A lovely Sea Holly and more white Lupins!

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The last bit of the border, looking down on from the dry moat bank!

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As you leave the herbaceous border there are banks on each side covered with all sorts of rambling Roses.

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This is one of the paths taking you out of the herbaceous border!

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Now we go into the sunken Rose Garden. Look at the walls from Queen Elizabeth I's 1580 lodgings, and looking up at the end of the Great Hall.

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The sunken Rose Garden!

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 How lovely is this? Of course it has to have a Lavender Hedge.

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The bees love this Lavender Hedge all the way around it!

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 I hope you have enjoyed the first part of your wanderings. I leave you with this until Part 2.


All pictures are my own and taken with respect.

Eltham Palace is in southeast London in the Borough of Greenwich and is not that far from the Royal Park at Greenwich. Unfortunately 'English Heritage' or more commonly known by us as 'English Heretics' now run it. They have a strange policy at Eltham Palace in that you can travel thousands of miles, pay to go in as I did, and they will not let you take photographs inside the Palace of the Art Deco interior. They simply claim it is the rules, which is normal for them. Also if you wish to enter the 'Palace' you must put on these plastic bags over your shoes! It was only built in the 1930s what are they worried about? I also cannot understand why it is called a Palace, as the modern one is not a Royal Palace at all, and how they can claim it is now a listed building is beyond me. But 'English Heretics' work like this; they have listed a tower block of flats built in the 1960s by a minimalist architect. It looks like any other block of flats to the rest of the population.


Part 2

Eltham Palce, English Heritage site it is Ok it is free. CLICK HERE!

I will put more links on Part 2.




For Nancy.

Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Great tour! by stilldew Oct 17, 2010 1:58 PM 1
walking tour by Maridell Aug 26, 2010 1:27 PM 15
Very Enjoyable!!! by jeri11 Aug 20, 2010 7:31 AM 2
Stunning by vic Aug 17, 2010 4:00 PM 1
Great!!!! by Ridesredmule Aug 17, 2010 7:08 AM 9
About inside by Happy_1 Aug 13, 2010 9:44 AM 2

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