Saturday, 25 August 2012


Kelmscott Manor is situated on the Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire border.  Willliam Morris the textile, furniture and ceramics designer lived here from 1871 until his death in 1896.

It is now owned by the Society of Antiquaries of London who restored it in the 1960s when they took it over from Oxford University.

Morris's daughter May lived in the house until her death in 1938 when it passed to Oxford University under the instructions in her will.  This proved to be a bit of a millstone for the University so they were relieved when a court judgement allowed them to pass it over to the Society of Antiquaries of London.

The house itself is situated in a very quiet lane and is surrounded by a lovely but simple garden. 

Full of Morris's designs and samples of his cloth, furniture and ceramics the house makes a clean and light museum on three floors.  The attic is reached by a most unusual staircase.  Originally the steps would have been very steep but someone devised the idea of a split staircase where each stair is divided into two and staggered so that each stair is only half as steep thus making mounting it very easy for even the most infirm visitor.

We found the whole experience a delight.  The docents were pleasant and polite and very knowledgable on their subjects which made for an even more intresting visit.

There is a restaurant but there is also a pub in the village, The Plough at Kelmscott, both serving delicious and reasonably priced food.

The only thing which could have been a problem was that the car park is a very pleasant 10 minute walk from the house, although there is a drop off point for disabled and infirm visitors at the house itself.

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