At the end of last year I found, tucked inside the winter issue of the Art Fund magazine, a flyer advertising a number of short breaks organised by the company Travel Editions with whom I’d previously spent a 3 night break in 2014 : Art Nouveau and Art Deco in Lille and Antwerp. The trip that particularly caught my eye was “Surrey Arts and Crafts”.
“A full day on this tour is dedicated to GF Watts – his gallery, a classic example of Arts and Crafts architecture, the Watts Mortuary chapel is Victorian philanthropy at its best and Limnnerslease, his home, has just reopened to the public with his great studio at its heart. Add to this Norney Grange, a classic Arts & Crafts home, Lutyens’s exquisite Goddards House, Prof Anne Anderson and this is a tour to savour.”
What better introduction to the area and its ‘trademark’ architecture?
On the final afternoon of the trip we were to have had a guided tour of Goddards. The tour included the gardens, dining room and bowling alley but unfortunately, due to some misunderstanding, we didn’t get to see the Study and Library. However, I was very pleased to have this chance to visit Goddards as it is a Landmark Trust property which I am unlikely ever to stay in as it sleeps 12 and is pretty expensive to hire.
Garden by Gertrude Jekyll
“Goddards at Abinger Common is beautifully preserved in a village which appreciates and recognises the value of its presence, a ‘favoured’ village in estate agents’ terms, surrounded by National Trust property and equally the secure Evelyn estate, which would seem to assure (if anything can) that Goddards will survive.” p.177 From ‘Gardens of a Golden Afternoon: the story of a partnership: Edwin Lutyens & Gertrude Jekyll’ by Jane Brown.
The following potted history is taken from the Landmark Trust website :
“A masterpiece of the Arts and Crafts movement
Goddards was built by Edwin Lutyens from 1898–1900 and enlarged by him in 1910. It is considered one of his most important early houses, designed in the traditional Surrey style and with a garden laid out in collaboration with the celebrated garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll. The commission was an unusual one. In the words of Lawrence Weaver, writing on Lutyens’ houses in 1913, it was built ‘as a Home of Rest to which ladies of small means might repair for holiday’. This was the idea of Frederick Mirrielees, a wealthy businessman who had married an heiress of the Union Castle shipping line. A central range with common rooms on both floors divided two cottages, the southern of which also contained a bowling alley. Here Lutyens played a game of skittles in 1901 with the three nurses and two old governesses then staying here. They all loved the house and ‘invariably weep when they leave it’.
The Lutyens Trust
In 1910 Mirrielees adapted the house for his son to live in. The upper common room was divided and the cottages were extended to provide large bedrooms over a dining-room and library: two diverging wings, which hold the courtyard garden in loose embrace. It was given to the Lutyens Trust in 1991 by Mr and Mrs M.W. Hall, its owners since 1953, and had changed very little since 1910. The Trust, having found its care too costly, has now leased it to us and it is once again a place to enjoy a break and play skittles. The Lutyens Trust retains the use of the Library. Goddards stands on a little green approached by deeply sunken lanes. Large estates and the National Trust look after the surrounding countryside, and within it you can find many masterpieces of the Arts & Craft movement.”
I must concur that Goddards is situated in a very lovely area of Surrey. Chocolate box cottages; village greens; gentle wooded hills; ancient pubs and pretty tea rooms abound.
Here are some of the Lutyens details that caught my eye :
Beautiful details of the doorway
Doorbells: with great attention to detail
The Indoor Bowling Alley
Dining Room Cupboard
Door Furniture specific to Goddards
Dining Room Fireplace
Dining Room Door Catch
A Glimpse of Gertrude Jekyll’s Goddards Garden