The Grade-I listed Eltham Lodge is one of the finest surviving examples of Restoration architecture, home for nearly 100 years to The Royal Blackheath Golf Club, England’s oldest golf club. But until now the Lodge’s long and diverse story has been neglected, along with the reputation of its gifted architect, Hugh May.
In Eltham Lodge: Where Perfection meets Convenience, John H. Bunney has delved into archives and libraries to unearth fascinating details of the building’s owners and occupants, its architectural history and the evolution of its magnificent parkland setting. Club members, golf enthusiasts and anyone interested in the rich history of the Eltham area will find much to enjoy in the author’s meticulous research.
The book is lavishly and beautifully illustrated with original photographs, historic paintings, archival maps and architectural drawings to create a complete visual record of Eltham Lodge, from its commission by wealthy merchant Sir John Shaw in 1663 to its current incarnation as an enviable clubhouse. The author has brought together missing pieces of the jigsaw, from portraits of previous owners now in far-off collections to fragments of exquisite hand-painted wallpaper preserved by the V&A Museum.
The lives of the occupants – from the 1st Baronet, financier to the exiled Charles II, through to Kitty O’Shea, wife of Irish Nationalist Charles Stewart Parnell – mirror the history of the United Kingdom. Their absorbing personal stories are set in the cultural and political context of the age. Through changing fashions in architecture and landscape, the book traces how successive generations of owners and tenants developed Eltham Lodge to keep pace with the times and reflect their status, or their declining fortunes.