A magnificent Jacobean manor is reopening to the public

It boasts some of the finest examples of surviving seventeenth-century decoration

India Lawrence
Written by
India Lawrence
Contributing writer
Boston Manor House Brentford
Photograph: Hounslow Council

Getting a peek inside London’s storied history is always thrilling. Now, there’s one more thing you’ll be able to tick off your historical London bucket list. A Jacobean manor house in west London is reopening to the public after six years of closure, and it’s undergone an extensive £6 million restoration of its architecture and ornate decorations. 

Boston Manor House in Brentford was built in 1622. Over its long life the grade I-listed building was used to home a primary school, an institute for training domestic servants and bedsit accommodation for single women. 

Before the restoration started in 2017 the house was described as ‘a mess with a tree growing inside’ by John Collins, historic houses manager for the London borough of Hounslow. But now it’s been restored to its former glory. The historical three-storey manor is now a rare example of surviving Jacobean architecture and ornamentation. 

Among the period gems on show are an original decorative plaster ceiling featuring exotic creatures and an overmantel depicting a biblical scene in what was the state drawing room. According to the Guardian, ‘it is one of the finest examples of Jacobean plasterwork to survive intact’.

You’ll also be able to see some ‘very rare and special’ wallpaper, architect Harriet Pillman said. Dating back to 1757, the wallpaper decorating the main staircase was uncovered and then digitally recreated during the restoration. Its design features classical ruins. The restorers also preserved the original seventeenth-century staircase, which is adorned with six lions each holding a coat of arms. 

Pillman added: ‘This [house] is a gem about which not much was known, so every discovery was really exciting.’

The grounds are just as magnificent too, with a lake and ancient cedar trees.

Boston Manor reopens to the public on July 7.

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