Eltham Palace

Eltham Palace

Walking around the gardens of Eltham Palace it’s hard to believe that the High Street is only five minutes away. You could be forgiven for thinking you were in the middle of rural Kent. Entrance to the Palace by foot is via Tilt Yard Approach or by Court Road. Now both of these roads have some interesting brick walls. Yes, I do think brick walls can be interesting. They date back to the 16th Century and have that texture that only comes with age. In fact the wall between number 34 and 36 Court Yard is listed and is on English Heritage’s at risk register. You will also notice the Tiltyard gate which would have been the entrance to the jousting area of the palace.

Tudor detail

Tudor detail

The original palace dates back to Edward ll 1305. Later the young Henry Vlll grew up here. Much of the old palace is now a ruin except for the Great Hall with its stunning hammer beam ceiling. In the 1930s the ruin was bought by the wealthy Courtauld family who built the Art Deco house. The two very different types of architecture 20th Century and Medieval do work in harmony.
Eltham Palace
A tour of the interior will take you back to pre-war decadence. For me it is not so much the luxurious gold bathroom, stunning entrance but the home movies of Ginny and Stephen that make you realise how fabulously wealthy they were. The house has been used in several films, advertisements and videos so is very recognisable.

Tilt yard gate

Tilt yard gate


Tilt yard gate 1930s

Tilt yard gate 1930s

After the Second World War the house became the headquarters of the Army Education Corp up until 1992. It must have fallen into disrepair at some point as this old photograph of the Tiltyard gate reveals. I have also spoken to a neighbour who worked at the palace some years ago. She told me that one of the best fireplaces were taken from the palace and were bought by the Greyhound public house which is now the Yak and Yeti restaurant in the High Street. It is a 15th Century stone fireplace with a Tudor arch and carved spandrels.

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