Trace the changing fortunes of Smallhythe Place over its 500-year history. Smallhythe has been part of medieval shipbuilding, a sleepy backwater farm house, home to renowned Victorian actress Ellen Terry and now houses a nationally important theatrical museum and collection.
The Barn Theatre
The Barn Theatre was the brainchild of Ellen Terry's daughter, Edy Craig. Throughout her time at Smallhythe, Edy wished to convert the barn into a theatre but Ellen wouldn't allow it. Edy finally got her way after Ellen's death in 1928, with the first performance in 1929. The theatre hosts productions to this day
‘There was something of wildness in her nature, something wilful and untamed, something almost fey, which assorts well with this brave old house, with these rich beams, these windows.' So wrote the critic E.V. Lucas after visiting Ellen at Smallhythe. This is reflected in the nature of the lovely cottage garden.
Shipbuilding at Smallhythe Place
Smallhythe was one of the most significant ship-building centres of medieval England from the 13th to the mid-16th centuries. Royal ships were built here for Henry VI and Henry VIII. Smallhythe is now landlocked 12 miles from the coast.