Eltham Palace and Gardens: Medieval Palace and Millionaire’s Mansion
Eltham Palace in Southeast London has an 800-year history of luxury and glamour. In her richly illustrated lecture, Dr. Dominique Bouchard will explore the story of Eltham from its first mention in the Domesday survey of 1086, to its role as the 1490s boyhood home of King Henry VIII, to its transformation into a chic Art Deco residence.
In its early history Eltham was renovated and added onto by England’s most famous kings and queens so much so that by the late 16th century it was larger and more ornate than Hampton Court Palace! By the early 17th century, however, Eltham fell into decline. During the English Civil War, Parliamentary troops ransacked the palace, after which it remained a ruin for more than 250 years. In 1936 it was saved and transformed by eccentric millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld. They combined the medieval hall with a new, ultra-modern 1930s Art Deco residence. After WWII the Ministry of Works became responsible for management of the palace. English Heritage took over in 1995 and is restoring the interiors of the 20th-century house and the gardens to their 1930s Courtauld-era appearance.