T+L Reports: New British House Museums
Published: December 2010
Three new house museums in England shed light on the lives of legends in rock, design, and literature. Mendips (251 Menlove Ave., Liverpool; 44-151/427-7231; www.nationaltrust.org.uk), the stucco house of John Lennon's youth, was purchased last year by Yoko Ono and has recently been restored by the National Trust. Working from photographs—and the recollections of John's family—curators have re-created its late-fifties look, down to vintage cleansers in the kitchen and Elvis and Brigitte Bardot posters in the future Beatle's tiny bedroom. • Commissioned in 1859 by Arts and Crafts master William Morris, Red House (Red House Lane, Upton, Bexleyheath; 44-1494/755-588; www.nationaltrust.org.uk) has a medieval look: stair posts are carved in the shape of crenellated spires, and stark white walls are painted with courtly scenes, including a wedding banquet with Morris and his wife dressed as royalty. • Jane Austen dreamed up her novels in the beech and lime groves of Chawton House (Chawton, Alton, Hampshire; 44-1420/541-010; www.chawton.org), her older brother's 20-gable Elizabethan mansion. Last month the extensively renovated building opened to the public as a library and study center. Fittingly, 6,000 pre-1830 books by English women now line the corridors Austen once roamed.