I have been lucky enough to do some work shadowing with English Heritage, and this week I got to visit Eltham Palace in East London. They are planning a new interpretation of the site that all should be completed by April 2015. It is a fantastic place as it is and after hearing all the amazing ideas that they hope to implement, it will be far superior come next Spring, so do visit!
Eltham was originally a popular medieval palace. Though all that really remains is the grand great hall built for Edward IV. Emperors to Bishops were entertained by Eltham, and Henry VIII spent his childhood here.
Yet as nearby Greenwich grew in royal importance thanks to it’s thameside location, Eltham faded out of memory. It fell into disrepair, with it being used as a barn at one point, which I think is bonkers!
I really liked the detailing on these windows showing the white rose of York, reminding you of the halls patronage by Edward IV.
A very sweet detail of presumably Elizabeth I.
It was apparently here that Henry VIII met the great scholar Erasmus. It was also at Eltham that the prestigious Order of the Garter was created.
In the 1930’s the wealthy Courtauld family bought the palace, and controversially built their own new home around it. In all honesty, I completely understand peoples worries, and I was unsure what I would think of the design. Yet the integration of medieval and art deco architecture is surprisingly seamless and I thought that they complemented each other perfectly. When you consider the state of disrepair that the palace was in, I am grateful that the Courtaulds invested so much in its preservation, who knows whether it would still be standing today without their input.
The art deco style throughout the house isn’t really my cup of tea, but I can really appreciate the actual design. The design of Eltham is certainly what makes it unique and if you’re interested in that then it would be a perfect trip.
I apologise for my lack of photo’s from inside, I was too engrossed in listening to the teams plans for the reinterpretation. Very excitingly, I have been given some of my own research tasks to help out with the project. Very daunting but just what I need if I want to get into the heritage sector.
So you will know doubt hear more about this project, any treats I find in my research, and maybe even something I found actually being used in the new interpretation! Watch this space.