A beautifully-preserved link to Britain’s Arts and Crafts heritage remains frozen in time behind the doors of a handsome Georgian house overlooking the River Thames.
From 1903 to 1933, No 7 Hammersmith Terrace was the home of Emery Walker, who had become a close friend and colleague of the influential Victorian artist and textile designer William Morris. Also a renowned poet and writer, Morris was one of the driving forces behind the Arts and Craft movement which flourished in Britain in the late 19th century, influencing architecture, interior design and decorative arts.
Full of original William Morris wallpapers, textiles and furniture, the house has remained unchanged since Walker’s death and is the finest preserved arts and crafts interior in Britain. Open to the public since 1999, setting foot inside this fascinating building is like stepping back into the history of an arts movement which began over a century ago. Shared socialist beliefs drew the two men together in the early 1880s, but it was printing (Walker’s metier) that cemented their friendship: the idea for Morris’s Kelmscott Press came from a lecture given by Walker in 1888 at which he projected magic-lantern slides of 15th-century typefaces.
Highlights include the atmospheric dining room with its deep blue-green Morris wallpaper and woodwork, while the main bedroom contains an exquisite bedcover designed by May Morris, William’s daughter. Renovation on the pretty walled garden began in 2009, restoring some of the original layout and planting schemes of the garden based on Dorothy Walker’s planting notes and photographs from the 1920s and 30s. Those touring the house in 2010 will be among the first to witness the early results of this restoration.
To protect the interior of the house from wear and tear, entry is by booked tour only, with up to eight people per tour.
Thurs-Sat three times a day. Tickets £10. Further information from The Emery Walker Trust, 7 Hammersmith Terrace, London W6 9TS; www.emerywalker.org.uk.