Sunday, 1 September 2013

Danson House , a hidden gem in Bexleyheath

A few weeks ago I went with my parents to Danson House in Bexleyheath, Kent. I forgot my camera that day so these photos are taken with my phone, which is why they are not quite as clear as usual. When we first visited The Red House (William Morris' house), a few years ago we noticed this property in Danson Park. It had been restored and reopened to the public. My Mum used to teach in a nearby school and she remembers it before it was restored. It was not open the day we visited the Red Room and we vowed to return at some point.  There is a also a super tea room here and we started off our visit with lunch and homemade cakes which were delicious. The tea house has been opened in one of the rooms at the back of the house..
 Below is the entrance to the Tea Room.

This stunning Georgian villa was originally built in 1766 by Sir John Boyd who was besotted by his young bride. In it's heyday it was the most sumptuous house, filled with the trappings of Georgian wealth and stood in 600 acres of grounds. The family lost their fortune in the 1800s. The original wings at the side of the house were demolished at that time and the house was sold on. By the 1920s it was virtually derelict and it was acquired by Bexleyheath council. They sold off a huge chunk of the land and opened the rest as a park. Amazingly a lot of the original features survived,despite the building not being inhabited for many years.

English Heritage acquired the house in 1995 as it was noted to be a house of significant historical importance and it was made a listed building. English Heritage and Lottery funding was approved and the house has been lovingly restored and several rooms put back to their original Georgian splendour. It was reopened by the Queen in 1996.
The staircase is most unique in that it is oval and top lit. The Japanese flags at the top are for a current exhibition being held in the upstairs rooms.

 Can you imagine having to negotiate these stairs in a long dress in the 1700s!

The hallway has doors to several rooms, 3 of which have been restored.
 This is the dining room decorated with exquisite painting telling stories of love.

Through the door is the octagonal salon with hand blocked wallpaper
and the library, complete with organ, no less

This is the view from the window looking out to only a quarter of the land it once owned! The grounds must have been so vast in it's day. 
The last room which has been restored is the old kitchen, down in the basement. What a difference is seen there. No sumptuous paintings or carpets, just huge working surfaces, a vast range and little light. What a hard life the servants had but I suppose in those days it was a better life than being in the workhouse.
 All the washing for the house was done by hand on a wonder the old rhyme talks about Monday being washing day as it took all day.
I'm sorry the photos are not that good but I really thought that this little gem of a house was worth sharing with you. Nearby is Hall House, which we hope to visit soon and of course The Red House, home of William Morris is a few minutes walk away. If you are ever in the area they are all worth a visit.

As we are now in September and the weeks are racing away I have been trying to get some more Christmas cards made. My card today has been inspired by my visit to Danson House and uses a gorgeous "Vintage" stamp made by Stampendous called Snowy Postcard. I admired this stamp last year on several people's blogs but I could not buy it anywhere, as it sold out. I vowed to still buy it after Christmas and eventually managed to purchase it from an American web site earlier this year. I finally inked it up and here is my first creation.

I added lots of Frantage embossing powder to the Marianne die cut trees and lots of layers. I also added some lovely lace I won from the Ribbon Girls. I made another of my Card Candy flowers, this one I made to look like a sort of pine cone. The sentiment is LOTV. I used vintage photo distress inks to add an aged look to everything. The snowflake die is my newest buy from Joy Crafts. I finished off with a sweet reindeer charm from my jewellery making stash. Here is that gorgeous stamp in close up.
and here is that cute reindeer charm.

I just love this stamp and you will see me using it on some other cards I am sure. I have stamped it on Kraft card.

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;

Country View Crafts Challenges layers
Simon Says Stamp anything goes
Party Time Tuesdays anything goes
Crafty Hazelnuts Christmas challenge get inky/painty
Winter Wonderland How charming - add a charm
Christmas at sweet stamping animals my winter animal is the cute reindeer charm
Sparkles creations weekly Christmas challenges something new my new is the stamp, lace and the snowflake border die.
ABC U is for unlimited (anything goes)
Bunny Zoe's monthly card challenge Bingo my line is diagonal; lace/sparkle/charm
Natalie and Amy Embossing

The weather has been just glorious again this weekend and I am heading out to the garden again after lunch. Just to cheer those of you who cannot consider Christmas until 1 December here are some sunny photos I took yesterday. Just look at that sky. Despite autumn only being 21 days away we are still enjoying a glorious summer here in the south of England. Enjoy the rest of today.

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x


  1. Despite your card being very beautiful, I am grateful for the sunshine photos!! :)
    What an amazing house Jane, I love the staircase ! We have to be very grateful for the various organisations who purchase these old houses and restore them, without them so much history would be lost!
    Happy Sunday my friend,
    V xxx

  2. Hello Jane

    Dear me!!! I have been following you for a while now and not said hello or commented on any of your posts at all!! So sorry!! I have been reading them though!
    Congratulations on becoming a grandma (Is it your first grandchild?) such a wonderful state of being I assure you. I have a 12 year old grand-daughter and she always makes my day when she comes to see me. Lovely original cards Jane.....I've been looking at your makes and the card in your last post is super different I love it.

    keep well

    Amanda :-)

    Crafty in the Med

  3. Beautiful Christmas card. Love all the details. Thank you for joining us at Party Time Tuesdays.

  4. First, thank you for posting all the pictures and information on the Danson House. I love history, as I try to imagine what life was like "back in the day."

    Second, gorgeous card. I love how you pulled it all together so well. I just came across Joy dies and hope to find them in the US; I really like the snowflake dies.
    Thank you for sharing with us at Christmas Card Challenges this week.
    --Heather G

  5. Hi Jane.. thank you SO much for showing us the Danson house.. oh my goodness, to envision living in there in the day. I think that may be one my favorite of your cards.. it's a work of art! I love the vintage house image and then all the snow you put around, just fantastic! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  6. Hello Jane,

    What a lovely tour you (and we!) had in that stunning Danson House, thank you for sharing! Lovely pictures! And you're so clever starting C-crafts in time, mine are still in designing state but I am thinking about them at least :)

    Happy September, dear friend!


  7. What a fab post the house looks amazing I love stuff like that so thanks for sharing it. Your card is so beautiful I love the vintage feel to it and how you've attached your charm. Thank you for joining us over at The ABC Challenge and I hope you join us again. Take care, Ann-Marie xxx

  8. I so love getting to see photos of your trips! Those trees you created are gorgeous and love the addition of the deer charm - beautiful card!

  9. great card and love the image, with the addition of the lovely charm just perfect for our challenge at the Winter Wonderland and beautiful photo's again
    Hugs Kate xx

  10. Beautiful card Jane, I love your cute little reindeer!

    Fab photos too!

    Thank you for sharing at Christmas at Sweet Stampin this month, Wedgie xxx

  11. Gorgeous card and love the reindeer charm.
    Thank you for joining the Winter Wonderland 'How Charming' challenge and good luck x Susan x

  12. What a treat it is to come and visit you Jane!
    I have enjoyed reading about Danson Manor. To me that's what England is all about. I don't mean just gorgeous buildings buut the capacity to salvage and bring old beauties back to life. I'm dreaming of visiting England again and stopping for Tea and scones is my favorite thing to do...argh...and your card is so much in Danson's spirit! You're amazing ...

    Thank You! I mean it!!

  13. Hi Jane, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  14. Love your fabulous brilliant Christmas card, love your photos too.

    Thank you for joining us at Simon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge.


  15. BEAUTIFUL photo's of an extraordinary house.

    LOVE the frantaged-up pretty as a postcard card too! Gorgeous.

    Sarn xxx

  16. Love all your photos of Danson - John is at Danson Park this afternoon - he plays bowls there with a Blind Bowling Club. Your card is gorgeous - thanks for entering my CHNC challenge 140 - you could also enter this into my CHNC challenge extra for September - I'd love to see it there too. x

  17. What a great tour of Danson House, Jane!! Would love to see it AND the Red House some day.
    A very stately home; wonderful to have it preserved for future visitors. Interesting to see the Chinese flags.

    Thanks for sharing with your readers.
    Have a lovely week,

  18. Hi Jane! What a lovely visit - I love old houses and their stories! It looks like the life was so hard then but was it really comparing today's awfull stress etc.
    I'm happy to see that you can think of Christmas - I feel that still too difficult, even should start to make at least some plans.
    Your card is beautiful and it has cute 'old' style. Hugs! x Teje

  19. What a fantastic house! I love the spiral staircase, it's rather fabulous isn't it? I am still envious of your Red House visit as it's been on my list for so many years (after studying William Morris at school) I hope to force my sister to accompany me there one day. Lovely card, gets me into the right vibe for cooler weather :) Bethx

  20. What spectacular photos! It must be a truly stunning property IRL. Your card is stunning too - the Snowy Postcard stamp is one that I had to have too :) Gorgeous detailing. Thanks so much for sharing it at Christmas at Sweet Stampin.

    Hugs, Dawn

  21. Love your card! So glad you popped in the share it with us at CCC. Hugs x

  22. Gorgeous details on your card!
    Thanks for joining our challenge at CCC!

  23. Wow this is gorgeous, love your use of colour and DP. The design showcases the image perfectly.
    Thanks for joining us at NATALIE & AMY’S this month, hope we see you again soon. Hugs Sheryl xx

  24. Wow Jane sorry I missed this post, what fabulous photos and gorgeous architecture and scenery. I love your card too, the frantage has worked perfectly, thanks for sharing it at Country View Crafts September Challenge.
    hugs {brenda} x0x


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Jane x