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House, galleries, café and shop:

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 11am – 5pm
Thursday: 11am – 5pm
Friday: 11am – 5pm
Saturday: 11am – 5pm
Sunday: 11am – 5pm

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+44 (0)1223 748 100


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And so there was that initial tour around the house with Jim, sometimes just one-on-one, sometimes a group of three or four people, and in the course of an afternoon, probably fifteen to twenty people might go through the house. He also had a way of signalling to maybe four or five, five or six people that he’d quite like them to hang back at 4 o’clock because there would be tea and toast around the long oak bench table in the dining room, in the dining alcove. You were not invariably asked, in fact he tried to invite different people, but it became something of a pattern and among the regulars there were several of us who were identified as people who would help with a little… by being more familiar with the house and its contents and with Jim as a personality, would actually help socially to put first time visitors at their ease. So, in one way or another, I became involved as a kind of Jim helper and regular taker of tea and tea was a complete ritual. It was always lapsang souchong served out of a Queen Anne silver teapot into cracked and stapled china cups which had travelled half way around the world, they’d clearly had them in North Africa as well as France, but Jim never threw anything away. If something got damaged it was mended. And along with tea came burnt brown toast, because he was usually too busy talking as he toasted the toast under the gas grill to actually take it out in time, and honey and homemade marmalade. That was it. That was a completely invariable feast, every day at 4 o’clock. It was in many ways Jim’s main meal. This was a man who’d been gassed in the trenches in the First World War and had had gastric problems for the rest of his life and his diet, as I got to know him better, of course, I discovered about these things, his diet consisted of Complain, that invalid food which he had for dinner every night so tea and toast really was a high point in his day.