Yesterday, April 20th, was a momentous day for the Arts & Crafts Hammersmith team, as we reopened Emery Walker’s House after an 18 month closure, welcoming visitors from near and as far afield as Australia!
After so many months of hard work, packing, unpacking, cleaning, cataloguing, creating a new exhibition space so the House would be ready for visitors, it was a proud and very satisfying moment to see just how much our first visitors appreciated the tours, hosted by Emery Walker’s House’s wonderful volunteers.
First through the door at 7 Hammersmith Terrace was Michael Grant from Hanwell, a big fan of Arts & Crafts and William Morris. “It was really interesting; so many people from the Arts & Crafts Movement lived here and knew each other. I particularly loved the bedcover – it was amazing! And the house is in such a lovely situation near the river”.
Jill Rathbone from Fulham, who was also on the first tour at 11 am, enthused “I really enjoyed the fact that it was a home and that someone lived in it – it looks like time has stood still, and I’m glad that it has not undergone a makeover. I loved the old photographs, the fabrics, the wallpapers – the creakiness of it!”
Benita McLennan from Australia, pictured in the Dining Room, said she hadn’t heard of Emery Walker before this but “I’m a William Morris fan and am doing a bit of a tour; I was at Red House yesterday. I found the tour really good and informative”.
Rowan Ferguson, pictured in the shop, also an Arts & Crafts enthusiast, has just moved to London, “Just before I moved I watched something about Emery Walker, and then I moved to Hammersmith and walked past the house, but it was closed then. Now it is open I finally get to see inside! I like the Daisy wallpaper and the ceramics particularly – I want more time to see everything!”
Pauline and Richard Bateman had come all the way from Sheffield and attended the one hour guided tour after a trip to The William Morris Society Museum, a ten minute walk away in Upper Mall. Closer to home, Anna Kolliowska, from Chiswick, pictured far right wearing a green scarf, said she really appreciated the wealth of detail in the interiors and the beautiful peonies in the riverside garden. Another local resident, Margaret McCullagh, pictured in front of number 7, on the left of Anna, summed up her experience of the tour “For me it’s the fabrics, furniture and Morris wallpapers – it was just amazing to see the square panel showing a before and after section of the paper demonstrating just how much has been cleaned and restored”.
The house has had many illustrious visitors, including Sir John Betjeman, who wrote over 50 years ago that he had been:
“…enchanted with the house… There is now no other Morris interior in London to equal it, … Of course, its appeal is as a private house, not a museum, and the way the walls are hung with a mixture of photographs, water colours and illuminated manuscripts and the way the twinkling light from the Thames at the bottom of the garden shines on the blues and greens of Morris papers and fabrics and old brown handmade furniture, leads one to a kingdom that can never be created again.”
Come and see for yourself! Both Emery Walker’s House and The William Morris Society Museum, a 10 minute walk away, are now open on Thursdays and Saturdays, so you can plan on seeing both Arts & Crafts house museums in one trip to Hammersmith.