Seven Country Houses in London

Ref: C3741119

We shall look at seven houses and what they reveal about history and architecture which were once country retreats but have now been swallowed by London including ducal Syon and William Morris’s Red House. 1. Rainham Hall; A Merchant’s Villa. 2. Kenwood; Architecture and Life in a Lawyer’s Villa. 3. Syon; Ducal Splendour. 4. Ham House; A Stuart Courtier’s House. 5. Strawberry Hill; Georgian Gothick. 6. The Red House; William Morris and the Arts and Crafts. 7. Eltham Palace; 1930’s Luxury.

Course aim

The course will consider how country houses reflected their owners’ status and aspirations through architectural style, collections and lifestyle. It will also consider the lives of those who lived and worked in these houses.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • 1. Identify the principal features of the main architectural styles of villas and how these evolved.
  • 2. Analyse the statements about status which country houses make.
  • 3. Identify the key ways in which country houses were used by their owners.
  • 4. Identify some of the key features of villas near London.
  • 5. Identify how some of these houses worked as part of larger estates.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No reading is required for this course but students may find the following helpful. Sir John Summerson, “Architecture in Britain 1530-1830”, Yale University Press Mark Girouard, “Life in the English Country House” Penguin

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full Course information sheet

Seven Country Houses in London


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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