Guidebook: Eltham Palace

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Eltham Palace is a building of striking contrasts. Behind the elegant façade is a stunning Art Deco mansion built around the great hall of the medieval Eltham Palace.Eltham was initially a moated manor house but by the early 14th century it had become one of the largest and most frequented royal residences in the country. By the 16th century however it had been eclipsed by Greenwich and Hampton Court palaces and for 200 years after the Civil Wars it was used as a farm.In the 1930s Stephen and Virginia Courtauld took a 99-year lease on Eltham from the Crown. They commissioned the architects Seely and Paget to build a house for them adjoining the great hall. The striking ultra-modern interiors were designed for entertaining and to house the Courtaulds’ extensive collection of art and furniture.The Courtaulds left Eltham in 1944 and the site was occupied by Army educational units until 1992. English Heritage took over the site in 1995 repairing and restoring the 1930s house and gardens. This year Paul Peirano’s room Virginia’s walk-in wardrobe and the basement rooms have been opened to the public giving a fuller picture of life at Eltham in the 1930s.This revised edition of the guidebook sheds new light on Eltham’s history especially the wartime years and also provides a tour of the palace and gardens. It is illustrated with specially commissioned photography a new reconstruction drawing of the great hall and a new selection of historical images.Key Features:52 pagesPaperbackPublished in 2015

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English Heritage