Sutton House

Sutton House is a Grade II* listed Tudor manor house in Homerton High Street, Hackney, London, England. It is owned by the National Trust.


History

Originally known as 'Bryck Place', Sutton House was built in 1535 by Sir Ralph Sadleir, Principal Secretary of State to Henry VIII, and is the oldest residential building in Hackney. It is a rare example of a red brick building from the Tudor period. Sutton House became home to successive merchants, sea captains, Huguenot silk-weavers, Victorian schoolmistresses and Edwardian clergy. The frontage was modified in the Georgian period, but the heart and core remain an essentially Tudor building. Oak panelled rooms, including a rare 'linen fold' room, Tudor windows and carved fireplaces survive intact and an exhibition tells the history of the house and its former occupants.

At the turn of the 18th century, Hackney was renowned for its many schools, and Sutton House contained a boys' school with Dr Burnet, as headmaster, attended in 1818 by the novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton. The building next became Milford House girls' school.

The name is a misattribution to Thomas Sutton, founder of Charterhouse School, who was another notable Hackney resident in the adjacent Tan House. This residence was demolished in 1806 to allow for the extension of Sutton Place, a terrace of 16 Georgian Houses (Grade II listed).

Sutton House was bought by the National Trust in the 1930s with the proceeds of a bequest. During World War II it was used as a Fire Warden Centre, and wardens watched from the roof for fires. From the 1960s it was tenanted by the ASTMS Union, led by its charismatic general secretary Clive Jenkins. When the union left in the early 1980s, the house fell into disrepair.

The house is the oldest surviving domestic building in Hackney, and would be for east London, but for Bromley Hall, a much modified, but slightly older house of the Tudor period, survives next to the Blackwall Tunnel approach road. It is not open to the public.


Rescue

In the mid-1980s the building was squatted and used as a music venue and social centre, known as the Blue House (a decorated wall from this time is preserved within the current museum). After the squatters were evicted the building's condition continued to decline. An active local campaign was mounted by the Sutton House Society, originally known as the Save Sutton House Campaign, was formed in March 1987. to rescue and open the building to the public. Renovations were completed in 1991. The building remains in use as a museum, as well as a cafe, an art gallery and gift shop. There is an active schools education programme at the house, together with other community programmes. Sutton House was short-listed for the 2004 Gulbenkian Prize. It is registered for the conduct of marriages.

The weekend of 23 and 24 June 2007 represented the 20th anniversary of the campaign to save the house, and the 500th anniversary of the birth of the builder of the house Raplh Sadleir.

The restoration was completed in 1993 and the house fully opened in 1994


Transport

The closest station is Hackney Central station on the North London Line. Many buses also stop in this area. The pedestrian route from Hackney Central passes St Augustine's Tower Hackney, a remnant of Hackney's Tudor Parish church.


Trivia
  • Sutton House was used for filming exteriors and interiors for a two-part TV adaptation of the Terry Pratchett novel Hogfather. It was shown on Sky One over Xmas 2006.
  • The interior of the house often appears as a backdrop to 'historical documentaries'.
  • living TVs Most haunted investigated the house in 2007

References and notes
  1. ^ Hackney: Education, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 148-165 accessed: 26 January 2008.
  2. ^ Sutton House Society Newsletter, June 2007 accessed 23 Jun 2007

 

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