Britain’s history has left a legacy of building styles from the Norman Imperialism of the Tower of London through to the financial imperialism of redeveloped Docklands. In between the focus of wealth creation in other parts of Britain has created residues of historic architecture and interiors – from the wool rich towns of Suffolk such as Lavenham to Victorian Grandeur of Bradford’s Salts Mills town or Port Sunlight in the Wirral.
Ightham Mote is a time capsule of architecture and interior style covering seven centuries. Unlike the Geffrye Museum in East London it is not a constructed or collected Museum. It is an expensively preserved physical recording of continuous use and re-use from 1330 until 1985, when the last owner, US businessman Charles H. Robinson left the building to the National Trust.
The house was owned by Sir Thomas Colyer-Ferguson from 1889 until 1951 and he undertook much renovation work, but on his death the family sold the house. Initially it was acquired by the local community who intended to undertake the restoration, but the condition of the building put this beyond their reach so it was sold again. Not until its gifting to the National Trust was there sufficient funding to undertake what has been a remarkable conservation effort.