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Overlooked Britain: The Dairy at Ham

Regulars | By Lucinda Lambton | September Issue


A remnant of Stuart Splendour

There are surely few rooms in England that seem as enchanted as the 18th century dairy at Ham House in Richmond, Surrey. After all, only a wizard’s wand could have created life-size cow’s legs of cast iron, supporting marble slabs of milk and cream. Surrounded as they are, too, by tiles of prettily trailing ivy (these can also be found in 18th century dairies at Endsleigh, Devon, and Milton, near Peterborough), this is a magical spot. The house, dating from 1610, while for all the world in deep countryside, is, extraordinary to say, only ten miles from the centre of London. Proudly proclaimed by the National Trust – to whom it was donated in 1948 – as being ‘unique in Europe as the most complete survival of 17th century fashion and power’, its grandeur knows few bounds. With a sumptuous Stuart splendour that survives from its earliest days, it was built...

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