Sunday 20 September 2015

London Open House Weekend - Round House, Havering-Atte-Bower 20th September 2015

George and I left home to head to London to take part in our second part of the London Open HouseWeekend. We arrived at The Round House in Havering-Atte-Bower.

The Round House, Broxhill Road, is a three-storey house built for William Sheldon in the 1790s.It stands on the crest of the ridge, with views north and south. The plan, which is elliptical, is similar to that of Ickworth (Suff.). Most of the original fittings survive, and some early-19th-century wallpapers. The house was long the home of the Revd. J. H. Pemberton (d. 1926), the rose-grower.

Entrance Hallway

We waited in the garden for our 1530 hrs tour.

Servant entrance.

The current owner Michael Heap, started our tour with a in depth speech about the history of the house and village.

Havering-atte-Bower is a village and outlying settlement of the London Borough of Havering,. It was one of three former parishes whose area comprised the historic Royal Liberty of Havering.The village has been the location of a number of palaces and large houses including Bower House, The Round House, Pyrgo Palace and Havering Palace.

The village is steeped in royal history. Edward the Confessor was the first royal to take interest in the area as he established a hunting lodge here which over the years would become a palace or 'bower' and it is believed, though disputed, that he may have died in the house that he had loved so much before being buried at Westminster Abbey.

After the death of Rev Joseph Pemberton and his sister the house was briefly tenanted before being requisitioned during the 1940-1945 period. It was used by the army for the holding of its own miscreants and as a store for furniture from bombed houses.
Unfortunately the placing of sandbags around the house encouraged damp leading to severe wet and dry rot and woodworm infestation.
In 1952 E.M Heap purchased the house in a bad state of repair. Diseased timbers were replaced and treated the remaining and made the house waterproof again.
His son Micheal was given the house in 1977 and with his wife they were determined to restore it as their home.
The kitchen was moved from the basement to the ground floor, it no longer being appropriate for food to be prepared in the cellar and be bought up by servants.
Bathrooms and central heating was installed bringing it up to  modern standards but in keeping with the original building.

We entered via the basement the old servants entrance. Micheal sent George and another child off in one direction while he ran around the other way to scare them. You could hear the screams from the boys!

After a brief tour of the basement we went up the spiral staircase up to ground floor.

We had a tour of each floor and its various rooms. On the top floor the ceiling up the skylight had an amazing painted ceiling.

After touring this floor,another surprise was in store. We were being taken up through the loft and up a ladder onto the roof.

From the roof were 360 degrees view of the area seeing as far as Kent,QEII bridge and London.

The water tower

We now went back down to ground floor and the end of the tour. Amazing tour and so much information. Open House is held every September, you must really visit here!

The Round House is where Grammy Award-winning singer Imogen Heap lives with her partner Michael Lebo. Her music has been featured in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Roswell, Garden State, The O.C., Six Feet Under, Smallville, Just Like Heaven, Chuck, The Holiday and The Town. She and Guy Sigsworth (Britney Spears, Madonna) released one album together in 2002 as electronic duo Frou Frou.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Yes I was aware. Saw the studio etc. Was asked to keep it quiet 😁

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Oh.. sorry! I deleted my comment just in case.. that's amazing though, you are incredibly lucky :)

    4. That's OK you didn't need to delete it, Keep a eye out for the London Open House weekend,you can visit then!

  2. Thanks so much for the website link! :)

  3. I have been so fascinated about this house since 2011 when Immi was recording her videos on you tube while composing her CD called Ellipse. Thank you for the full view.

  4. Thank you so much for posting this article. I am somewhere in California and saw this on a gardening show and your lovely photos let me see more of it.