The Conservatory & Garden
The pretty walled garden leads right down to the wall embanking the river.
The terrace at the end is the perfect place from which to view the constant activity on the river; including the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race in the spring. This popular sporting fixture became part the of the local Arts and Crafts social calendar, with parties first held by Morris and then by the Walkers.
Dorothy Walker was a keen and respected gardener and even had a plant named after her. The garden is laid out roughly as it was in Emery Walker’s time, we can tell from an 1890s plan and because Dorothy kept meticulous notes.
When the houses were built in the mid-18th century, a communal private promenade ran along the bottom of the garden open to all 17 houses in the Terrace, but private to them. Gradually each house took its own piece of promenade into their garden so that by the time the Walkers moved in it was almost all gone. Emery, as a good socialist, didn’t approve of this privatisation.
The garden is maintained by our volunteers. Among the plants are roses, a rather enthusiastic wisteria, and an ancient jasmine plant.
The vine, planted in the garden in 1900, and which traversed into the conservatory, has its own artistic pedigree. It was taken from a cutting in the painter William Hogarth’s garden nearby. It has been pruned right back, but still produces grapes which are, allegedly, very sweet but full of pips!
Look out for
Plasterwork owl and frieze
The plasterwork owl and frieze in the conservatory is by the architect-craftsman, Norman Jewson. He hoped that "my buildings would at least have good manners and be able to take their natural place in their surroundings without offence".
This sweeping view up and downstream lured many artists to this stretch of the river in Hammersmith, including JMW Turner. The Walkers made the most of this spectacular vantage point and held parties to celebrate The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Would you like to throw your own garden party? Hire us.
Ceramics in the conservatory
Although not significant individually, these represent the collection of a person closely associated with the leaders of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Emery bought many of these items on holidays in Europe with the Art Workers' Guild. Dorothy’s holiday snaps, taken on her trusty Brownie, can be seen in the Archive.