Carlyle's House

Carlyle's House
(Photo: Colin Wing)
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A peaceful walled garden in the heart of Old Chelsea. The Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane rented this house for nearly 50 years. Carlyle's House opened as a museum in 1895 and is now owned by the National Trust.

Laid out when Chelsea was still a riverside village, the garden at Cheyne Row was a typical town garden, with an oblong patch surrounded by high brick walls to the east of the house.

From the back door, three steps led to a yard paved with flagstones, from which one step led up to a gravel path, bordered with box. The path branched to the left between the flowerbeds, and led to the earth closet, a square brick building almost hidden in summer by lilac bushes and fruit trees.

In 1843 Jane complained that Carlyle never dreamed of lying in the shade of his own walnut tree: 'It is a tree! Leaves as green as any leaves can be!' Carlyle walked and sat in the garden. 'It was,' he said, 'of admirable comfort in the smoking way.' Come and see the garden that was theirs for nearly 50 years.

Gardeners: Linda Chinnery & Linda Skippings

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