After an 18-month restoration, the nation’s most perfectly preserved Arts & Crafts house has reopened – to great enthusiasm.
Sir Emery Walker’s home at 7 Hammersmith Terrace now has a new roof, to ensure that items including William Morris’s library chair can be seen by future generations.
More than £1million has been spent restoring the house where the typographer and close friend of Morris lived from 1903 to 1933.
The cost of the restoration work has been met by the Heritage Lottery Fund via the Arts & Crafts Hammersmith project, working with the William Morris Society.
The building reopened on last Thursday (20 April) with a Morris patterned ribbon being cut. Groups of visitors began making their way round the beautiful interiors.
One of the first through the door, Jill Rathbone of Fulham, was pleased to find that the restoration had not altered any of the original features. “I really enjoyed the fact that it was a home and that someone lived in it; it looks like time has stood still, and I’m glad that it has not undergone a makeover,” she said.
Around 6,000 individual items were removed to be catalogued and conserved while the restoration crew were at work. Everything is now back in place, just as it looked at the time of Sir Emery’s death.
The building is not just a superb example of Arts & Crafts styling, but is also an in-situ exhibition space for William Morris wallpaper, textiles and embroidery.
Prized items include Morris’s library chair (dating from the 1600s), a stylised portrait of May Morris by Edward Burne-Jones and ceramics by William de Morgan.
But there are also quirkier items, including a mould of Philip Webb’s ears, and a lock of Morris’s hair, snipped on his deathbed.
The building is rich in history as it was where leading members of the Arts & Craft movement gathered
Guided tours of Emery Walker’s House at 7 Hammersmith Terrace are held three times a day (11am, 1pm and 3pm) on Thursdays and Saturdays, with numbers limited to eight per tour, so prebooking via the website is essential.
For more details, the Emery Walker website carries full information about the building, its inhabitants and history.