Rewriting Lamb House

The front door at Lamb House

Following the completion of a three-year project, Lamb House has been redesigned to give our visitors more access to the house, the stories it contains and the writing it has inspired. This has involved restoring historic panelling in the oak parlour and the King’s Room, re-displaying the collections, restoring the garden and revisiting how the stories of Henry James and EF Benson are told.

New spaces

This exciting project involved the opening of previously closed rooms and spaces for visitors of Lamb House to explore and enjoy.

New spaces have been opened, including our Courtyard Tea Room, which is accessible from the garden. Here visitors can enjoy teas, coffees, cakes and light lunches overlooking the courtyard, with additional outdoor seating to enjoy in the finer weather.

Back inside, the ground floor rooms (entrance hall, telephone room, oak parlour and dining room) remain areas for visitors to explore, but the eighteenth-century staircase now invites you up to the first floor of Lamb House.

Archival image of the entrance hall at Lamb House
Archival image of the entrance hall at Lamb House
Archival image of the entrance hall at Lamb House

The King's Room

The King’s Room on the first floor acquired its name when George I [sic] was forced ashore by a storm and sought shelter for several nights there. Lamb House was the home of the Mayor and deemed the most suitable dwelling to accommodate the King, who was given its finest room. 


This room was also used by Henry James as a guest room (a traditional Benson continued). Unfortunately, there are no archival images showing how the room was furnished during James’ tenure – though the 18th-century panelling and corner chimney piece survive.

The Green Room

A visit to Lamb House now includes the Green Room which was used by Henry James and EF Benson as a writing room. Later this tradition was continued by National Trust Tenants; Montgomery Hyde, Rumer Godden and Brian Batsford Cook.

The garden room, where James and Benson enjoyed writing during the summer, was destroyed in 1940 during the war. The Green Room therefore, retaining some of its historic features, is the only space at Lamb House that is linked to James’ work. James wrote his three major novels amongst many others; ‘The Wings of the Dove’ (1902), ‘The Ambassadors’ (1903) and ‘The Golden Bowl’ (1904) in this room.

" I sat up late writing letters – in the Green Room – most unusually late…"
- Henry James

 

The White Parlour

The White Parlour was historically two separate guest bedrooms, and through archaeological research, we believe that the layout was altered by the National Trust following the bomb-damage restoration of the house in the 1950’s.

This space is used for temporary and visiting exhibitions relating to the history and stories of Lamb House and its residents.