Visit the house and garden

Windows at Red House

Red House allows us a glimpse into the life of William and Janey Morris and their family. Surrounded by orchards this was Morris’ rural idyll where he could attempt to fulfill his dream of ‘transforming the world with beauty’.

Entrance Hall

The large entrance hall holds one of the highlights of the collection; a settle designed by Philip Webb, architect of the house and decorated with a mural thought to be by William Morris and Dante Gabrielle Rossetti. It shows the beginnings of Morris’ love of pattern through intricately detailed clothing that many of the figures are wearing.

Paining on the settle at Red House, Bexleyheath
Painting on the settle at Red House
Paining on the settle at Red House, Bexleyheath

Dining Room

More of Philip Webb designed furniture dominates in the Dining Room, a large dresser, originally dragon’s blood red stands at one end. Next to it an embroidery of Aphrodite, made by the talented hands of Janey Morris and her sister Bessie Burden.

Bedroom

This modest room was known to have been William and Janey’s bedroom. Although small in size it would have been rich in decoration. Wall hangings would have given the room warmth and the walls were painted by the couples' friends. Uncovered in 2013 from behind a wardrobe is part of this original decoration showing figures from Genesis painted as if hanging on fabric.

" I got my friend to build me a house very medieval in spirit in which I lived for 5 years, and set myself to decorating it."
- William Morris

Drawing Room

It is in this room that we can best glimpse the Red House that William and Janey would have known. Remnants of patterns long hidden by later owners can be seen and boldly surrounding another large dresser is the set of three wall paintings that Edward Burne-Jones painted for William and Janey as a wedding present.

Detail of wall painting at Red House, Bexleyheath
Detail of wall painting at Red House
Detail of wall painting at Red House, Bexleyheath

The Garden

Visit the orchard for a picnic amongst the apple trees or play a game of croquet or skittles on the lawn as Morris and his family would have done.

Next to the orchard the rose arch offers a sheltered walkway amongst pink and red blooms with a heavenly scent.

Daylilies and phlomis bring colour to the borders around the bowling green and acanthus and Japanese anemone frame the house to the south.

The garden is full of activity with the gardener and a team of 22 volunteers keeping the weeds down and continually deadheading to ensure flowers throughout the season. 

The garden at Red House
The garden at Red House, Bexleyheath, London
The garden at Red House

There are also two hives of bees which are busy collecting pollen from the abundance of wildflowers around the garden.

The vegetable patch is hard at work planted up to offer produce later on in the year.

Red Houses’ garden in summer is an abundance of colour and the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.