14 September-London Visit, Blackheath-SOLD OUT

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Described by Osbert Lancaster as the finest Georgian area of London, Blackheath has much to offer the architectural enthusiast.

Hamilton House, opened exceptionally for the Georgian Group, is a fine example of an early Georgian house with close connections with major River Thames industrialists who could see the river from its upper floors. It was built c 1735 by Peter Bronsden, a leading Thames shipbuilder, succeeded by his daughters and a son-in- law, Henry Shiffner, later MP for Minehead. From 1778 it was the home of the Enderby family, shipowners, whalers and explorers, then shipbroker William Curling, tea merchant Richard Twining FRS, and (1851-1915) the Knill baronets, Lord Mayors of London. Since 1999 it has been the family home of the present owners who have reversed many 20th century changes. Its eastern 3-storey front has a single-storey projection above the front door and projecting Tuscan porch and ground-floor bays; early C19 west 3-storey bow. Internally the original staircase has turned and twisted balusters; there are C18 and C19 marble chimneypieces and much original panelling.

Ranger’s House was built c 1700 for Captain Francis Hosier, possibly by John James, later Clerk of the Works at Greenwich; of brown brick with red brick dressings, 2-storeyed with 7 bays, the centre 3 recessed with a Portland stone Doric frontispiece and a Neptune’s head keystone over the front door (Hosier served twice on HMS Neptune). The 4th Earl of Chesterfield KG acquired the house in 1748 and added a brown brick, single-storey S wing, with bows to front and back, probably by Isaac Ware (who built Chesterfield House, Mayfair 1748-9); Richard Hulse bought it in 1783 and added the matching N wing. For most of the C19 it was Crown property, first the residence of George III’s sister the Duchess of Brunswick (mother of Caroline (estranged) Princess of Wales, Ranger of Greenwich Park from 1806), then of successive Rangers until the death of Field Marshal Lord Wolseley in 1896. For much of the C20 it languished underused until in 2002 it became the home of Sir Julius Wernher’s magnificent and eclectic collection of works of art, following his descendants’ sale of Luton Hoo (visit 12 October). Lunch is included and Andrew Wells leads.