Tuesday 5th May – 15th meeting of 2015
Today we met at Blackheath Main Line station for a 2 o’clock guided tour of The Ranger’s House at Blackheath. Some of the ladies had had a stressful journey with late running and cancelled trains. On meeting together we walked into Blackheath Village and a little French cafe for a well needed – coffee and cake.
We then walked over the Heath to Greenwich Park and found the entrance to the house. There was a gale force wind blowing which made it hard to walk. Although the sun was shining it was cold but even so Blackheath is a fabulous part of London with beautiful views over the village itself and Greenwich. On arriving at the house our guide opened the large main door and let us in. We were pleased to get inside away from the terrible wind!
The house is owned by English Heritage and is opened for guided tours only. The cost was £6.30 for seniors. The house which is a red brick Palladian Villa was built in 1791 by George Robertson for Admiral Hosier. Since being built it has been occupied and used for many different things. Residents include 4th Earl Chesterfield, Sir Edward Hulse. It was bought by the Crown and was the home of Princess Sophia Mathilda of Gloucester. In 1816 it became the The Ranger’s House and was occupied by the keepers of Greenwich Park. London County Council acquired it in 1897 and it was used a tea rooms, changing rooms, council offices until The English Heritage became owners and now display the fabulous unique collection of Sir Julius Wernher.
Our guide a young very knowledgeable young lady gave us a background to the history of the collection before embarking on an extensive tour of the rooms. Each room was full of the collection of Sir Julius Wernher who was a self-made diamond merchant. He collected all and everything. Each piece displayed great craftmanship but none had a feminine or pretty look. About 700 pieces on display ranging from religious paintings, Dutch Old Masters, tiny craved Gothic ivories and a beautiful large Love of Angels sculpture. A fascinating collection but it was not particularly of my own taste!
After the tour which took about an hour we walked back across the Heath still fighting the fierce gale force wind to Blackheath Main Line station and made our ways home after an enjoyable morning albeit windy windy windy!!