Searching for Regency London

Fenton House Continued
by Ann Lethbridge

Another view of the garden just to tempt you.

There are two more smaller rooms on the first floor, and their size make photographs less than satisfactory, so I can give you only a glimpse. Note that the first room also had a powder room and the second was originally linked to the master bed room.

Interestingly enough there were six more small rooms in the "attic". I assumed this was where the servants would sleep. But no. Although they could only be reached by the servants' staircase, these would have been family rooms too. Likely the younger children. Most of the families inhabiting this house had from seven to nine children. I was unable to visit these rooms on this occasion but it is on my list for another time.

The servants would have slept in the basement, not open to visitors.

Next time we have our fashion article, before we do more searching in London. Until then Happy Rambles.

Searching for Regency London

Fenton House, Hampstead, Continued
by Michele Ann Young

How about that for a garden and a view from a window. So green and well organized. The weeds in my garden won the battle this year.

This is just a small sample of the lovely views. I took more but thought this was probably enough to "get the idea". I might add another one at the end.

So leaving the ground (first) floor we go up stairs. Here you can see down from the top and get a better sense of the twisted balusters and the large window.

On this floor there are four rooms set around a square landing. The servant's stairs also emerge on this landing, making the two north facing rooms quite small.

This bedroom is the largest. It once had a closet, now an alcove beside the fireplace for powdering ones wig (rather than one's nose).

The columns were thought to be added in 1810 replacing a wall which created the narrow access passage to the clock in the centre east front wall. Where the plates are was originally another concealed or jib door to the adjacent bedroom. The instrument shown in the alcove is a spinet.

This next room is a drawing room, and apparently was always a drawing room. So this house only had three bedrooms on this second floor. The decoration of this room, the dentil frieze and the arched alcoves are likely early nineteenth century.

We still have two more rooms on this floor, but the photos take forever to load and the sunny day is calling me outside. So until next time, Happy Rambles.

Searching for Regency London

By Michele Ann Young

Fenton House continued

We saw the narrow servants' stairs in the previous set of pictures. Here are the stairs the family would have used.  Not the impressive staircase of some of the houses we have seen, but clearly wide, with lighting from a large window on the first landing, which itself is wide enough for a chair. The window looks out over the walled garden.

This is the original seventeenth century staircase with twisted balusters. Now we go upstairs

This next room on the ground floor has been described as a small sitting room, or study and displays some of the finest figurines from England and the continent in the eighteenth century. Some of the English makers are Bristol, Bow, Chelsea and Derby.

The mirror between the windows is fine gilt gessor, or sconce, once equipped with branches for candles from 1715. The instrument is a 1612 harpsicord.

This is the last room on the ground floor, and its use in our time is not described. The alcove off to the right would have been a closet, not open as it is now.

It now displays early Chinese ceramics some of which were imported into England in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Next time we will climb the staircase and look around upstairs. Until then Happy Rambles.

Searching for Regency London

by Ann Lethbridge

One of my most interesting visits this summer was to Fenton House in Hampstead.

Pictured first is the South Front, which faces down Holly Hill (a particularly steep hill I might add)

In the regency period, Hampstead was a small city separate from London and a place where the middle class professionals lived, rather than the fashionable, though the Heath itself drew many visitors. The village and the heath sits high on a hill overlooking London and at one time could be seen as wooded hills behind the city from the other side of the river.

Fenton House has remained remarkably untouched since it was built in 1756, being a substantial brick house with extensive gardens of fruit trees and kitchen gardens enclosed in a brick wall.

Today much of the house is given over to collections of pictures and musical instruments which are interesting. My main interest however was with the house itself. The way it would have been lived in.

Various parts of the house has been altered over the years, but still it retains much of its original structure.

The entrance hall shown here, with the service stairs behind which can be shut off by a door is a far more modest area that we see in the grand houses we have visited. The frieze around the ceiling dates from about 1810.

The long case clock you can see dates from 1700.

Here is a closer look at the frieze:

Moving into the dining room we can see that it was once divided into two rooms, a dining room and a drawing room.

The chairs at the table are 18th century mahogany. The harpsicord off in what was a drawing room is a Shudi and Broadwood from 1770. One of the earliest with the Broadwood name.

These lyre back chair are Regency and there is also a winecooler in the shape of a classical sarcophagus tucked under the sideboard which is also Regency.

The alcove, part of what was the drawing room which clearly goes into one of the protrusions you can see on the outside of the house contains one of the very popular Broadwood Square pianos, this one from 1774

Sadly this is all we have time for today. But lots more next time. Until then, happy rambles.