Monday, June 23, 2008

Nuffield Place - 22 June 2008

Nuffield PlaceNuffield Place was the home of Lord and Lady Nuffield, formerly Mrs & Mrs William Morris. Not the William Morris of interior design but the man behind the Morris motorcar. Ultimately it was not only Morris but Riley, Wolseley, M.G. and Austin that entered the Morris fold.

Lilac poppiesIn his lifetime Morris gave away over £30 million (the equivalent of several billion today) and, as he had no children, intended to divest himself of his entire fortune. He eschewed pretension and the house is comfortably but not ostentatiously furnished for the home of one of the richest men of his generation.

William Morris's bedroom workshopAn interesting insight into his lifestyle is a workshop built into a cupboard in William’s bedroom: a place where he would repair his own shoes or tinker with other mechanical bits and pieces.

The future of Nuffield Place is under a cloud as the college that Morris gave it to has decided to sell the property. Absolutely no idea, it was just there in a fieldThis would be a great shame as the house is a unique example of a complete furnished 1930s home of a great industrialist and philanthropist.

Taplow CourtWe had started the day with a walk along the Thames near the village of Goring and ended the day overlooking the Thames from the gardens around Taplow Court. Once the site of a monastery, it is now a Buddhist centre.

1 comment:

jonathan werran said...

Hello Murray, it's a pity you weren't able to visit Taplow Court this coming Sunday 6th July as we're holding an Open Day in which the house is open to members of the public from 2 pm until 5.30 p.m with cream teas served in the canteen which has been converted from England's first squash court from 3 p.m.!

I know this because peculiarly or not I've been practising Nichiren Buddhism as a member of SGI-UK for the past 3 years and as a volunteer have responsibility for ensuring that the facilities grounds are safe and secure for visitors - so you can guess what my plans are for Sunday!

It would be great if you could drop by for either of the upcoming Open Days in 2008 which are held on August 3rd and National Heritage Day September 14.

There's a lot of history to discover within the house and its grounds including the burial mound of Saxon King Tappa, a famous early christian baptism pond and a cypresses planted by Winston Churchill in 1938 during the gathering storm of the pre-war years. Ironically the 'Cliveden Set' of those favouring appeasement with Nazi Germany led by Times proprietors the Astors were just up the road.

And a later Lady Astor and Mrs John Profumo were on the committee of DGAA during the 1960s so it's a very circular historical current we're standing in!