The beautiful Danson House, Bexleyheath has become the official registry office for Bexley Borough. Its a beautiful Georgian Grade I listed building with various different ceremony rooms. All looking out over the beautiful grounds of Danson Park, its lake and the 200 year old Oak tree. The perfect wedding venue.
For years it was derelict and, growing up in Bexleyheath, I’d always wondered what was in side the creepy old run down house other than pigeons! Who’d have thought that years later I would be Kent Wedding photographer photographing weddings there. It really is a gorgeous house, steeped in history and being a bit of a geek, I decided to have a look into its past.
Fellow history geeks read on………or, if not just have a nose at some of the photos that I have taken of recent weddings here alongside some old photos at the end of the blog, that I found in the archives….see I told you I was a geek.
It was built in 1766, designed by the same architect that designed the Bank of England, Sir Robert Taylor. It was built by Sir John Boyd for him and his wife to be, and to celebrate their love, Boyd commissioned an artist to paint romantic wall panels for the Dining Room. Thankfully, when the house started to deteriorate, they were put into storage and have now been restored to their rightful place in the house.
After Sir John Boyds death in 1800 the home was sold onto the Johnston family in 1807 and it was Sarah Johnston’s watercolour paintings of the home in the 1860s, that helped the English Heritage experts massively with the restoration project.
In 1862, Alfred Bean bought the house and all its land (582 acres at this point) He intended to transform the whole estate into a residential area/suburb. His will shows that part of the land was sold off for this purpose, but the remaining 224 acres remained in his family until his death and after the death of his widow in the 1920’s. When it was bought by Bexley Council in 1924 for £16,00.
Having not been lived in since the 1920s, the house deteriorated and the council couldn’t afford the up keep and so it was left in ruins.
In 1995, just months away from being demolished, English Heritage stepped in recognizing that Danson House was the ‘the most significant building at risk in London’. They bought the 999 year lease for £1 and spent the next 10 years and £4.5 million restoring it.
Finally July 2005 the Queen officially opened the stunning house to the public.
Every room in the house is unique and beautiful.
The Library – also known as the music room, over looks the lawns. It also has a fantastic old and original organ that was kept at Hall Place, Bexley until the Council invested in restoring it.
The Dining Room – Light and airey, with those romantic paintings and gold finishings. Very romantic.
The Salon – With its gorgeous vivd wallpaper. Tiny flecks of silk and flakes of paint discovered on the walls by the English Heritage experts enabled them to recreate the Georgian wall paper that was once there. This is one of my favorite rooms.
Sir John Boyds Room – A cosy room located on the top floor, with stunning views over Danson Park
Even the beautiful spiral staircase in the middle of the house is perfect for photographs.
As for photographs on your wedding day, the 200 acres of grounds give you plenty of options. Although its worth noting that you need an extra permit from the Civic offices if you want to have your photographs in the park itself or the ornamental gardens opposite. Although the lawn and grounds to the side of the house and the stairs are equally pretty.
The ornamental Gardens opposite the house
The Bean Family (of Danson), 14th April 1889 – Alfred Bean is 2nd from the left Sir John Boyd with Danson House in the distance. A painting from the house that is now on display in Hall Place. The Beans at Danson House. 1800s (Bexley Archives) Danson house pre 1862 (Bexley Archives) The Library/drawing room 1800s. (Bexley Archives) No date known. But I love this photo of a wedding at Danson House. THIS is why photographs are so important! (Bexley Archives)
Get in touch to find out about having me photograph your wedding day. I’d love to hear all about your plans.