Members thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the London home of the Duke of Northumberland. Syon House is right under the flight path to Heathrow Airport but this fails to spoil viewing the beautiful Park and Great Conservatory, and the grand Robert Adam interior.
Syon takes its name from Syon Abbey, a monastery established in the early 15C which occupied the site until the reign of Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries. A Tudor house was subsequently built on the same site but the name has always been retained. The house was substantially remodelled by Robert Adam in the late 18C giving it the grand ‘double cube’ rooms and typical Adam symmetrical wall and ceiling decoration – with liberal use of gold leaf! The house also has a large collection of portraits of the Percy family and their connections with Royalty and other aristocratic families through many generations. Our excellent guides brought the fascinating history to life.
The river Thames marks the boundary between the estate and Kew Gardens in the distance and the grounds contain the most beautiful Great Conservatory built by Charles Fowler between 1820 and 1827. It was one of the first of its type to be built and Joseph Paxton came to view it prior to his design for the Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
The location of the Hilliers Garden Centre alongside the Park afforded members welcome opportunities for refreshments and indeed shopping! But it is also interesting that Robert Hillier started his horticultural career working for Syon Park prior to joining the family business.
You can see more photos of the visit here