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Standen House - Home of Arts & Crafts

15th October 2019

Standen House and Garden is a Grade I listed building that's owned by the National Trust and open to the public. It's known for its stunning Arts & Crafts interiors and views of local scenery.

The History of Standen House

Standen House was originally designed by architect Philip Webb between 1891 and 1894 for a London solicitor, James Beale. The West Sussex property was built in the Wealden style, native to South East England. The materials used were local, with sandstone quarried from the estate, and locally produced bricks and roof tiles.

William Morris was a good friend of the architect and together with the family, James Beale, his wife and seven children, created this amazing arts and crafts home, using many of Morris’s designs throughout, with fabrics, wallpapers and rugs.  The long working relationship and collaborative revisions of both house and garden left the Beale family very satisfied with the results. The intervening years saw very few changes to the property.

After the death of their youngest daughter in 1972 the house was bequeathed to the National Trust for Places of Historic and Natural Beauty. The gardens are also a major feature of Standen, with the woodland created as a nature reserve and continues to be to this day.

Standen House and Garden

Standen House Now

As Standen House is open to the public, these beautiful, now restored interiors can be visited and enjoyed. This includes the entire property and repurposed buildings.

The house was very much designed to be a family home and the many grandchildren enjoyed idyllic memories there. You can now see this way of life for yourself during a weekend trip where you can follow a typical 1920s day at the house of the Beale family. You're walked through a 24 hour period of life in the jazz age from breakfast to afternoon tea and musical entertainment.

December then sees the house decorated in the style of a traditional Beale Christmas. There's often added festive events to enjoy the period decor.

The gardens continue to see renovations with Mrs Beale's diaries being a driving inspiration. These are often a first point of call whether people are enjoying a tour, a picnic or a wander. The house itself has views of Ashdown Forest and Weirwood Reservoir. The ancient woodlands of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are also part of the estate. It's especially a favoured spot for seeing an array of birds in their natural habitat. Moreover, photography walks are organised during autumn to make the most of the colourful changing of the seasons.

Seasonal dishes are also on offer in The Barn Café with an array of treats and children's lunches. The 18th century building has now been converted with many servings coming straight from the Kitchen Garden. See more of what this time of year has to offer.

Inspired by Nature from Morris & Co.

The must-see main exhibition Morris & Co. Inspired by Nature runs until 10 November. It not only talks through how the designs were created and manufactured but how clients, like the Beale's, had their interior designs put together.

There's also a recreation of Morris & Co.'s original showroom including printing blocks and original patterns. Many of these are still produced by the brand today.

The programme of events extends from the house to the garden and shows how the landscape inspired the patterns on show. There's even a trail inspired by William Morris’s poem Tapestry Trees which exemplifies all these elements.

Standen House and Garden
StaStanden House and Garden
Standen House and Garden
Standen House and Garden

(Main image: David Iliff. Images: National Trust by James Dobson, Nadia Mackenzie, James Dobson, Rod Kirkpatrick, and Andreas von Einsiedel.)