History

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Ralegh's boathouse

The boathouse sits on the sheltered banks of the River Dart

The boathouse sits on the sheltered banks of the River Dart

The boathouse is often referred to locally as 'Ralegh's Boathouse'. According to a local story, Sir Walter Ralegh was smoking a pipe one morning at Greenway when a servant, thinking he was on fire, threw ale over him.

The boathouse is from late Georgian or early Victorian times, and has a plunge pool where you could 'take the waters'.

Above the bathing room is a sunbathing saloon, complete with a balcony and two fireplaces. Christie used it as the scene of the crime where Marlene Tucker was strangled in her novel Dead Man's Folly.

Discover the collection

The cupboards full of collections at Greenway © Christopher Woodman

The house is full of fascinating things that make up an important collection. Agatha and her family were avid collectors of everything from Tunbridge ware to walking sticks.

Famous furniture

The hallway gives an insight into the vast collections of Agatha © National Trust

The brass-studded Baghdad chest in the hallway features in Agatha's short stories The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest and The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding.

Facts and Figures

  • Agatha's family tree

    Find out about the three generations of Agatha's family that loved Greenway.

  • Jiggle jerk your way to Greenway on the vintage bus © National Trust

    Greenway fact

    The house is the same height as three double decker buses.

  • Conservation volunteers © National Trust

    Conservation fact

    We fill 10 vacuum cleaner bags a month in the house, and spend 40 hours a week cleaning.

  • Agatha Christie was known as Mrs Mallowan to the local community © National Trust

    Agatha fact

    Christie thought Greenway cost her £16,000, in fact it was only £6,000.

  • Agatha Christie was known as Mrs Mallowan to the local community © National Trust

    Fiction fact

    Agatha Christie is still the third best selling author of all time.

An unexpected treasure

Agatha loved the frieze, so ensured it wasn't painted over after the war

Agatha loved the frieze, so ensured it wasn't painted over after the war

The library was originally the dining room of the 18th-century house and became a library after the regency dining room was built on.

In 1938 the library was described in the sale details as 'panelled throughout in polished teak brought from the Training Ship 'Britannia'; and having a recessed bay with glazed bookcases', but all this exuberant panelling was removed by Guilford Bell, Agatha's architect.

The room would be unremarkable if it was not for the extraordinary frieze that runs around the top of the wall. It was painted in 1943 by Lt Marshall Lee, when the house was occupied by Flotilla 10 of the US Coastguard. The frieze depicts all the significant events of their war, starting at their base in Key West, Florida, and ending with an image of Greenway perched above the river with an Infantry Landing Craft in the river below.

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