There is something for everyone here: mediaeval architecture, 1930s modernist style, unusual garden plants, and in the distance a wonderful panoramic view of London - from Alexandra Palace across to the City, with many of its famous landmarks clearly depicted against the skyline. When Stephen and Virginia Courtauld had their 1930s Art Deco mansion built, incorporating the Great Hall where Henry VIII and his forebears once resided, there were critics abounding, but today, since its restoration by English Heritage after the Army Education Corps vacated the premises in 1992, most of its visitors would no doubt agree it is a splendid house.
Having both recently read William Woodruff’s wonderful memoir The Road to Nab End, it struck us, seeing the opulence here of a house created by its millionaire owners, with money no object, that there was, of course, another vastly different side to life in 1930s Britain. I urge you to read his book if you haven’t yet. It will remind you of what has been achieved in the last eighty years, and what we stand to lose if we are not careful...
Wandering out into the sunshine, we wondered what the strange-looking berries were on the tree at the end of the lawn. They looked like large, luscious raspberries crossed with blackberries. We had the good fortune at this point to bump into an Iranian family, who explained that they were mulberries; the family told us they had, on various outings in and around London, mapped most of its mulberry trees. I love this kind of serendipitous encounter, all the more so on this occasion, after discovering we were fellow bloggers, making the acquaintance of Mehrdad Aref-Adib, whose websites are treasure-houses, boxes of delights, which will bear many hours of happy browsing!