Thursday, 13 September 2007

Architectural Adventures - Twyford Abbey

Earlier this week, thanks to my ever amazing Dad, I got an opportunity to poke around a remarkable, forgotten gem of a building. Tywford Abbey was built in 1807, in full gothic style, as a country house in what is now sunny Park Royal. The building was a nursing home until the late 80s but has just been falling apart in planning limbo since then. Dad came across the building when he was asked to lead some local area walks in Park Royal and has now got involved in campaigning for its preservation. There was an article on the building in Time Out last month which explains the history in more detail.

One of the strangest aspects of the building, when viewed straight on, are the balconies. These must have been added in the 50s (I rather like the design of the railings!) and so we decided there might have been a recessed court yard entrance in the original design.

We were only able to get into three of the original Georgian rooms. Two had obviously been kept in good condition and their ceilings still look amazing. These pictures were taken in the dark, just with flash but you can imagine how they would sparkle in candle light.

I love the amazing red of this room - it was actually less pink in real life. The wonderful ceiling rose does not deserve that manky light bulb!

Sadly much of the building has been very badly damaged by water. I took this picture in the hallway next to the rooms with the beautiful ceilings.

The water has meant the things like this have appeared: mushrooms growing out of the walls.

Even more impressive, though, was the tree growing out of the back of the building.

The Time Out article explains the details but much of the problems with development of the site are that, not only is the building listed, but the wild, rambling grounds are also under conservation orders which means paralysis. Such a shame as this is pure Jane Austen fantasy!
As I was on my way back home I was thinking how lucky we are as Londoners that at least constant usage means people are aware of the architectural value of our tube system. Park Royal station is a wonderfully functional art deco building: this view of the stepped back of the main building is from the platform.

I'm looking forward to this weekend as it's London Open House, so expect more architectural adventures detailed next week!


Arianne said...


I'm really into architectural history and conservation.

I hope to make it my job...after I go back to uni and get a degree...

katy said...

I like old houses and making things - so your blog fits the bill. katy x

Joanna D. said...

I've just come back from Twyford Abbey Road and came across your post. Thank you very much for it, especially the pictures of the interior. I'm linking yours to my post if it's OK:
Regards to you and your Dad!