On my staycation (a staycation is when you have time off work but stay at home, not when you have a holiday in the UK!) last week, Ma and I took advantage of our National Trust memberships and visited Osterley House.
I had been to Osterley (Osterley and Ham Houses and their construction were part of my GSCE history, so it was 1987 or ’88 and the house wasn’t opened then. Which is why I can tell you that the house was originally a Tudor house built in the 1570’s, it was owned by Thomas Gresham (honestly the period I was most interested in) and it’s known that Elizabeth I stayed there. It was extensively re-modelled by Robert Adam from 1761 to 1765 (the basis of my GCSE study was the difference in refurbishing them to reflect the prestige of the owners – at Ham you can see the changes, at Osterley you can’t).
We took the train to Osterley (the Piccadilly Line) and walked to the park, there were cows grazing. They were not Jersey cows but Charolais, which Ma felt was a missed opportunity! (The Earl of Jersey inherited Osterley from the Child family when he married Sarah Sophia Fane, the first female grandchild of Robert Child, who owned Osterley, his only child was a daughter, also called Sarah, who had eloped to Greta Green to marry John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland. At that point Child cut Sarah and all her male descendants out of his will and it was left to Sarah’s eldest daughter, Sarah Sophia also known as Sally. (keen readers of Georgette Heyer will know her as Sally, Lady Jersey and one of the patronesses of Almack’s), my favourite of her nicknames is Silence…)
The house is very Georgian and quite imposing, you wouldn’t want to live there, but actually it wasn’t a house that was lived in much, it was visited and was a bit of a showhome for Child and Co Bank.
Because the house wasn’t much lived in, it wasn’t much changed, the Yellow Breakfast Room is currently being refurbished and research is being done to make sure it’s as much like it would have been after Adam finished the house. Meanwhile, it’s always fascinating to see old buildings stripped back to plaster.
The State rooms are typical of the period, ie ornate and not terribly comfortable!
Next door to the house, you can see the stables (where the cafe and the shop are!) and they are much more Tudor in appearance.
We wondered around the gardens and met a duck.
The gardens were lovely, there’s a cut flower garden. They use the flowers in the house and the flowers they grow are era authentic. I recognised a lot of them from my plot, so there you have it, the plot is early Georgian era authentic!