As Belle Vue House in Sudbury looks set for demolition to be replaced with a hotel, on Saturday visitors were given a final chance to look round the house which is currently home to Sudbury Citizens Advice Bureau.
Around 75 people booked places and a few turned up.
The house was built for Sudbury solicitor Henry Crabb Canham in 1873 having been designed by London architects Henry Spalding and Samuel Knight. The Canham family lived there for almost 40 years. During the First World War it became a Red Cross Hospital for convalescing soldiers, some of whom signed autograph books belonging to the local nurses. These books are now in the care of the Sudbury Ephemera Archive.
The tours took in what had been the family part of the house, the morning room, smoking room, drawing room and dining room, with bedrooms upstairs and the servants’ quarters and guest bedrooms.
Also included were the cellars and the attic.
The drawing room and dining room have elegant plaster work cornices, wide fluted door frames and deep skirting boards, faced south overlooking the gardens – the servants’ quarters, on the other hand, do not.
The original ornamental tiled floor in the hall is still there, albeit under carpet tiles, there are gaslight brackets still in place, interior folding wooden shutters, original doors, cupboards and alcoves.
The piece de resistance are the painted glass windows on the half-landing with bespoke painted panels, entwined initials HCC for Henry Crabb Canham and EEC, Ellen Elizabeth Canham, his wife.
Anne Grimshaw who led the tour said: “The purpose of the tours was to give people a chance to see around what has been described as the finest Victorian house in Sudbury before it is too late for its owners, Babergh District Council, wish to dispose of the property.
“Most people on the tours had never been in the house and enjoyed seeing it, found it interesting – even fascinating - and hearing about its former occupants.
“Most hoped the new owners would retain it and allow it to continue to take its place in Sudbury’s history.”
Mrs Grimshaw’s also sold a booklet about the house. Some copies were missing pages 31-52. If your copy is missing these pages please call 01787 378204 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.