Headstone Manor is a fascinating place! A couple of blogs (Ian Visits & Diamond Geezer) wrote about the re-opened historic venue some weeks back, nevertheless Headstone Manor is still a novelty because its not widely known – it’s certainly most recommended. The manor dates back to c1310 and its moat constructed probably about the same time. It re-opened in December 2017. Despite not living too far away I have never been and having now visited, I must say its a fantastic job well done, its a lovely place!
Leaflet & guide to Headstone Manor
The manor is a rare example left of a moated building in London (there used to be a number of others, for example Tower of London, Jewel Tower, Edward III’s Manor House, Eltham Palace, Howbury, and Hampton Court where I have recent pictures of its moat temporarily back in action.) It might be noticed that most of these examples are in Central or South London, mainly along the axis of the River Thames, hence Headstone Manor is a rare example in North London.
In many ways the manor and its barns feels like this is the country. Those pictures of it from five years or more ago before restoration show the difference is huge and despite the changes, the manor’s country feel has not been lost as the picture below shows.
Hard to believe this scene is actually in Harrow, London!
The manor itself is without a doubt the showpiece although the barns are well worth a peep too. The manor house has been fantastically restored and every snippet of its history can be experienced. Its set out in a most excellent way and I’d say its very convivial. Its one of the best historical sites I have visited (there’s few I do get to see for many reasons.) Its clear a great deal of thought has gone into this one.
The smaller barn, which now forms the main entrance, plus introduction and a theatre
The manor house’s western prospect. This bit is newer compared to the older eastern frontage
The manor’s ground floor plan
The various floors and rooms each have a devoted historical section, either about the manor or local history or some other aspect related to the area.
The upper floor plan
The fantastic eastern prospect to Headstone Manor
The alphabet wallpaper room is something I have not seen before (though have read about this style as it was once popular.) This room is shared with the Metroland section.
Alphabet and Metroland room
I liked the dedicated sections on Metroland (there are two in fact, the other focuses more on the arrival of the Metropolitan and the London North Western railways) and the once local industrial complex known as Kodak. These exhibitions are brilliant. The latter is more important especially now the old Kodak works, where they use to make many of the famous types of film for cameras have shut down.
The corner dedicated to Harrow’s Kodak factory
This one is for the kids! The lovely Tudor timber walls and windows make a great backdrop
The interior walls consist of various types added throughout the ages, so for example one can see early types of construction in one part, Tudor in another, Georgian and much later types in other parts and the information panels clearly help to keep the visitor informed.
What is so fascinating is the hotch potch of different build styles that range from the 14th Century to the 20th Century, yet somehow it all feels as if it had been built all at the same time.
Mind your head. Stay clear of the doors please….
Its very hard to do justice to Headstone Manor, it needs a really long and detailed post for there’s just sooo much to write about. I prepared over twenty five photographs for this post but had to cut the number down to make the reading length more manageable.
Splendid fireplace on the upper floor
The fireplaces were of interest with different types in evidence. I loved the air vent control (its actually a damper) on one chimney breast. Museum wise its a rarity although it would have been more common at one time in these quite exposed places where strong winds or gales would throw everything at the chimney and try to put its fire out. Generally if one didn’t have this kind of damper a bellows was used instead. Yes, pump those handles and give the chimney a healthy blast of fresh air!
Wide angle view of the entire site – showing the three barns and manor house
Lovely wonky chimney and an oddly placed door. Leap of faith required!
Its disability friendly (bearing in mind its a historic building and therefore the doors cannot be widened but it does have a lift which is a bonus. Bear in mind the floors are not level (again, historic fabric, cannot be altered) but they have done a great job in making it as disability friendly as they can.
The Moat Cafe
The cafe is to be recommended too. Although I didn’t use it (just like I have never used other eating places for years, I’m just far too scruffy, clothes old, worn, torn, cant afford eating out etc) its nevertheless commendable. The design is clearly like that of an inverted boat hull. I am not sure if this was the intent however it evokes the style used for some smaller country barns where old boat hulls were simply placed upside down to create ready made roofs.
Headstone Manor is open Tuesdays-Sundays from 10 to 4pm. Nearest stations are Harrow & Wealdstone or Headstone Lane then a 10-15 minute walk.