Architectural gems in Bromley open to public
PUBLISHED: 09:59 15 September 2010 | UPDATED: 16:29 15 September 2010
This weekend some of the borough's most historic and beautiful buildings will open their doors to the public as part of a London architecture festival.
Open House London is a city-wide free event, which aims to show “the power of architecture to transform the quality of our lives.”
Properties open in Bromley include Biggin Hill Airfield, Camden Place, the former home of Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew Louis Napoleon and Bullers Wood School in Chislehurst, built in the 1860s.
Bromley and Sheppard’s Colleges, in London Road, Bromley, will be opening their doors to the public on Saturday. Part of the colleges date back to 1666 while other additions have been made over a 350-year period. It was originally built to house 20 poor clergy widows but now is open as a residential home for anyone with strong Church of England links.
Secretary of friends of the college, John Ilson, said: “We’re really looking forward to the public coming, we have been running these events for many years now. We will explain the history of the college and how Captain Richard Ryder, one of Wren’s surveyors, was responsible for one of the quads. We also have the pillars from the Royal Exchange which was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.”
The Open House event, which originated in London, is now in its 18th year and the concept has been replicated around the world including New York, Dublin, Tel Aviv and Barcelona.
Following last year’s success Bullers Wood School in Chislehurst will once again be taking part on Saturday. Visitors can tour the rooms in Bullers Wood House designed by Ernest Newton. Talks will be held every half-an-hour describing the story of the 19th century building and Victorian refreshments will be served.
Deputy head Sharon Newman said: “We are very much looking forward to showing members of the public the beautiful architectural characteristics of Bullers Wood House especially the hand-painted William Morris ceiling. They can wander round and see how the school has adapted the original rooms and features into a working environment and be transported back in time”.
The Art Deco Odeon cinema in Beckenham is also hosting guided tours on Saturday and Sunday. Manager Perry Godfrey said: “The cinema still has a lot of the original Art Deco in the screens. There public can see where the old dance hall was.”
Meanwhile Grand Design’s ‘perfect house’, The Berresford House, in Bromley, will be open on Sunday from 10am to 5pm with tours for a maximum of six people, every half-an-hour.
It was built by architect Ivor Berresford on a £2,500 mortgage back in 1958 and is a cedar-clad example of post-war modernism which has recently been listed. Pre-booking for its tours is essential.
A digital guide can be bought from www.open-city.org.uk/shop. A few buildings have limited access and must be booked in advance. For a full list of buildings that are taking part in the scheme and opening times check online at www.openhouselondon.org.uk.