Thursday, June 22, 2006

Syon House to Strawberry Hill - 18 June 2006

The courtyard garden at Syon HouseIt was summer: it was sunny; so a stroll from Syon to Strawberry seemed a suitable scenario. After a look around the opulence of Syon House, the London home of the Dukes of Northumberland, we set off along the Thames path walking upstream, away from London.

Messing about in boats on the ThamesAfter about 4 miles we arrived at Strawberry Hill the home of Horace Walpole, son of Britain's first Prime Minister. He, and his 'committee of taste' revived the Gothic look, well before the Victorian gothic era.

It is amazing what you can do with papier-macheAlthough he built on the cheap and said it would not last, the house is still going strong and being restored by a dedicated group of enthusiasts. One example of his money saving which has turned out to be quite propitious is his use of papier-mache to create the ceiling details. In other stately homes such detail is carved wood or plaster work. If plaster details come loose and drop to the floor they will shatter, papier-mache bounces and can be glued back in place.

Transport for London kindly laid on a bus, the 267, to take us back to Syon House to collect our car.

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