Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

John Mercer, a National Trust Guide at The Red House, gave an illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on ‘ William Morris & The Red House, Bexley ‘.

William Morris was born in 1834 into a wealthy family.  The Red House was built in 1859-60 for himself and his young wife.  It was the first commission for the architect, Philip Webb.  The house has Gothic features but was very modern for its time.  Then The Red House was deep in rural Kent.  A well supplied water and rainwater flushed the WCs.  The house was lit with candles and oil lamps and heated with coal fires.

Morris admired Medieval craftsmanship and founded the Arts & Crafts Movement.  The Medieval-style hall has a terracotta and green colour scheme and on a settle is a painting by Morris of his family and visitors.  Frequent visitors and friends included Rossetti, Maddox-Brown and Burne-Jones. 

There are stained glass windows by Burne-Jones, William Morris and Philip Webb.  In 1864-5 there was a run on the banks causing a drastic drop in Morris’s income.  Rather than see his business fold he decided to sell the house.  The Red House remained in private ownership until 2002, when it was acquired by the National Trust.


William Morris & The Red House, Bexley by John Mercer,