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Come inside, the house is open

PUBLISHED: 10:17 17 September 2009 | UPDATED: 17:08 25 August 2010

THIS weekend scores of buildings across the capital, many of which are normally closed to the public, will open their doors to visitors as part of an architecture showcase.

THIS weekend scores of buildings across the capital, many of which are normally closed to the public, will open their doors to visitors as part of an architecture showcase.

Open House London is the capital's largest architectural festival and now in its 17th year, it is a 'celebration of design excellence'.

Some 700 buildings of every type, shape and size, will be on show to Londoners completely for free.

Here, your Times has selected some of the key buildings taking part in the event in our area. For a full programme visit www.openhouse.org.uk/london.

l Built by Captain Richard Ryder, Bromley and Sheppard's College, in London Road, Bromley, was founded to house the widows of clergymen. The original building consisted of 20 houses built around a classically-styled quadrangle. Captain Richard Ryder, one of Sir Christopher Wren's surveyors, designed it in 1666. It will be open on Saturday from 1.30 to 5pm with tours at 1.45, 2.30, 3.15 and 4pm, pre-bookable on 020 8464 3558 or 020 8460 4712.

l The Berresford House, in Brooklyn, Lodge Road, Bromley, is set in woodland on a sloping site. Its cedar-clad timber-framed construction was ahead of its time when Ivor Berresford began constructing it in 1957. Resisting radical change, the house is often used for photo-shoots and was listed 'Perfect house' by architecture television series Grand Designs in April 2008. It is open Sunday from 10am to 5pm with tours every half hour except at 1pm. Pre-book only through Open House at www.openhouse.co.uk. The last tour is 4.30pm.

l On Sunday, visitors can make the most of the beautiful Sundridge Park mansion and gardens, in Plaistow Lane, Bromley. Designed by John Nash in 1797 with landscaping by Humphry Repton, it was completed by Samuel Wyatt who designed the fine interiors, roofs and domes. Open from 10am to 4pm.

l Architects Robert Taylor and Purcell Miller Tritton, built Danson House, in Danson Road, Welling, in 1762 for Sir John Boyd, a rich City merchant as a suburban villa or weekend retreat. This fine Palladian villa is made from Oxford stone and has just four rooms on the principal floor surrounding a central elliptical staircase in a top-lit well with eight Ionic columns below a dome. It was closed for 30 years but long term work by English Heritage has restored it to its former glory. There will be an architect or engineer on site giving information about the building. It will be open on Sunday from 11am to 5pm, with last entry at 4.15pm.

l The Gothic Bath House in North Cray Road, Bexley is a Grade II listed 18th century building in the grounds of the now vanished Vale Mascal estate beside the River Cray. It is flint walled with brick edging, pairs of cinquefoiled windows and cruciform gabled roof with chimney stack. It was restored in 1990 to its original appearance and may have been designed by Capability Brown or one of his disciples. The Gothic Bath House is opening Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. Regular tours on a first come, first served basis.

l Greenwich's Queen's House in Romney Road, was built as the opulent summer villa of Charles I's queen, Henrietta Maria.

It was the first purely classical Renaissance building in Britain which reflected a turning point in English architecture. Much of the original splendour of the house is retained, including the 'grotesque-style' painted ceiling of the queen's bedchamber, the Tulip Stairs, original painted woodwork of the Great Hall and its marble floor, laid in 1635.

l There will also be a series of walks and tours as part of the Open House event. Visitors to Greenwich Peninsula can take part in a guided tour exploring its transformation into a new urban district for London with sustainable design and landmark architecture. It includes permanent and temporary public art such as Slice of Reality and Antony Gormley's Quantum Cloud, helping to create a sense of place and identity. There will be an architect or engineer on site to answer questions. Visitors should meet on Saturday at 10am, 12.30pm and 3pm at North Greenwich tube station entrance, Peninsula Square. Tours, which last around two hours, are led by directors of Art in the Public Realm and allocated on a first come, first served basis.

kate.nelson@archant.co.uk

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