A few weeks ago we went to visit Nuffield Place. It was only donated to the National Trust in 2012, so it is a relatively new acquisition and a house that we had not visited before. We would definitely return for another visit though.
The house was built in 1914 and designed by architect Oswald Patridge Milne, who was a student of the great architect Edwin Lutyens. Milne also designed another National Trust house called Coleton Fishacre that we visited last year and you can read about that here. William Morris, who became Lord Nuffield and his wife moved into the house in 1933 and lived their until their deaths. When Lord Nuffield died he left the house to Nuffield College who then passed it on to the National Trust.
Lord Nuffield started out as a boy working in a bicycle shop and went on to open his own shop, before moving into manufacturing motorbikes and then in 1912 he set up WRM Motors which went on to produce many iconic British cars, including the Morris Oxford and many other cars that you may recognise and love.
When Lord Nuffield died he left his fortune (estimated to be about £700,000 million in todays money) to charity. During his lifetime he did a lot of charitable work and gave a lot of money to charity, particularly medical research in the area of anaesthetics and he also gave over a large portion of his car manufacturing plant to making iron lungs used to treat patients suffering from polio with the aim of providing every hospital with an iron lung.
Before we visited the house I had no idea about the work or life of Lord Nuffield, but it was fascinating and as I said above, really well worth a visit.
Today I will take you around the inside of the house, with the gardens to follow another day. I was just getting used to my camera, so I am afraid the photos are not brilliant, also it was hard to get room views as the house was so busy, but I hope that you will get the gist!
This bicycle was in the first small room into the house which led on to the Billiard Room.
This amazing machine was used by Lord Nuffield in his office and is an exercise horse apparently! It looked pretty dangerous to me.
You can see from this newspaper clipping that Lord Nuffield was a kidnapping target, but he seems to have taken it in his stride if you read the piece. Amazing really!
This was the sitting end of the Billiard Room and looked just like a comfortable mens club!
The house is built in the Arts and Crafts style and there were many fixtures and fittings that fitted in so well with this style. This stick stand was amazing and filled with a multitude of items!
The Drawing Room was decorated in typical 1930's "good taste" and not particularly in the Art Deco style which was popular at the time.
Having said that there were a few little touches of Art Deco here and there such as this amazing clock!
The we passed through the hallway where there are various pieces of china such as this wonderful plate which I think is Imari Pattern and the wonderful Cloisonné panel below.
The Dining Room was lovely and very light and bright and just the sort of room that you could imagine actually using and having a lovely family dinner in. We loved the toaster on the sideboard. It was very Deco in style and only produced one slice at a time, so if you were hungry for toast it could have taken a while!
The table was laid beautifully with lovely china and Bohemian glass.
The Sitting Room contained Lady Nuffield's desk where she wrote many letters every day.
There were lots of lovely objects in the room, including this amazing light and these lovely carved oyster shells.
Lady Nuffield was very fond of Scottie Dogs and owned several who accompanied her all the time. She loved them and loved these different toy Scottie Dogs and ornaments.
At the top of the stairs there was this very unusual vase which is believed to have been a gift from staff at one of Lord Nuffield's factories and it features many of the badges of the cars that were made at the Cowley Car Plant.
The first room that you come to is the Single Guest Bedroom.
It leads on to the room which is used to display the robes which Lord and Lady Nuffield wore to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
You then move through Lady Nuffield's dressing room and on to her bedroom. All around the house were these lovely little signs which had been sewn to tell you which room you were in - more about this in a minute!
After Lady Nuffield's room you go through to a sun room which had this amazing fan displayed. Can you imagine this passing health and safety inspections nowadays!
This is Lord Nuffield's bedroom. He had this cabinet installed so that he could work on ideas and inventions if he was awake or late at night whenever the mood or an idea struck him.
The cabinet contained all sorts of fascinating items.
Now back to Lady Nuffield, she was a great needlewoman and this was what we would now call her craft room. She had lots of WIP's underway it would seem! That is Works In Progress for non crafters! There is indeed a WIP underway in this room at the moment. A tapestry is being made of the house with visitors invited to add a stitch of two of their own to the piece.
The last room upstairs is the Double Guest Bedroom - although still with only twin beds!
That concluded our visit to the house. It is a home with great atmosphere and lots to see and enjoy and feels as though you could move in or stay for a visit and be made very welcome at any time.
The garden is yet to come!