575 Wandsworth Road (NT)
LONDON SW8, LONDON POSTAL DISTRICTS
The hand-carved fretwork interior of this modest, early 19th-century, terraced house is enthralling and inspiring. 575 Wandsworth Road was acquired by the National Trust in 2010, because of the rich and striking interiors created by Khadambi Asalache (1935-2006), a Kenyan-born poet, novelist, philosopher of mathematics and British civil servant. He bought the house in 1981 while working at the Treasury, and over a period of 20 years (from 1986) turned his home into a work of art. Prompted by the need to disguise persistent damp in the basement dining room, he initially fixed pine floorboards to the damp wall. He went on to embellish almost every wall, ceiling and door in the house with exquisite fretwork patterns and motifs, which he hand-carved from reclaimed pine doors and floorboards found in skips. The house stands as he left it, with his painted decoration on walls, doors and floors and with rooms furnished with his hand-made fretwork furniture and carefully arranged collections of beautiful and functional objects, including pressed-glass inkwells, pink and copper lustreware, postcards and his typewriter. Entry is with guided tour only. Due to the delicate nature of the property, tours are limited to 54 visitors a week, in tours of a maximum of six people at a time.
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About the area
The UK's capital was founded by the Romans shortly after they invaded in 43AD. Since then it’s evolved into one of the greatest cities on earth. From a bloody, squalid history to the vanguard of fashion in the Swinging 1960s to the buzzing metropolis it is today, London has something for everyone. There are very British pursuits like the Oxford and Cambridge boat race, changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and an impressive collection of traditional English pubs. And that’s not to mention world-renowned arts venues, galleries and museums, award-winning theatre and unrivalled shopping – all found within a few Tube stops of each other.
London’s royal history is not to be missed. Visitors can roam around one of Britain’s finest medieval castles and royal prison, and learn about the final days of Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London or, for the less bloodthirsty, visit the Queen’s London home, Buckingham Palace. Don’t miss out on exploring the capital’s Royal Parks – from St James’ Park and Hyde Park in the centre to the majestic Hampton Court and wilderness of Richmond Park in the southwest.
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