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Shedding light on Red House secrets

PUBLISHED: 10:45 22 June 2011 | UPDATED: 10:56 22 June 2011

Malcolm Young at The Red House

Malcolm Young at The Red House

Archant

An 81-year-old local historian has unveiled the lives of the owners of one of Bexley’s top visitor attractions.

Red House in Red House Lane, Bexleyheath, is most famous for being the home of the Pre-Raphaelite artist William Morris for five years until 1865, after it was built for him by his friend, the architect Philip Webb.

But Malcolm Young, 81, of Willersley Avenue, Sidcup, who has volunteered at the house for the past decade giving guided tours, has shed light on the occupants since Morris.

The retired Home Office civil servant, said: “There are lots and lots of books about the history of the house but not about those who lived at the house after Morris.”

The last private owner of the house was Edward Hollamby who lived there until 1999 before his family sold it to the National Trust in 2003. But there were eight other families between Morris and Hollamby, including a Commander of the Indian Navy, a stockbrocker who went to Australia for the gold rush of the 1860s, and a doctor who won a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in the Boer War.

Mr Young said: “They are a very interesting bunch and they are very different from each other.

“I was a member of the Red House volunteers for ten years and edited the newsletter and somebody said it would be a good idea to make a book out of the articles.

“The articles date back about three years and it took about a year to put together. I contacted people at the local studies, looked at census returns and I have a cousin in Victoria, Australia who carried out some research there.”

To order the 63-page book, call 020(8) 308 1984, email friendsofredhouse@gmail.com or write to Mrs L Hubbard, Larch 4 Rowanwood Avenue, The Hollies, Sidcup, Sidcup, DA15 8WN.

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