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Danson House is a late 18th-century house in Bexleyheath inspired by 16th-century Italian villas created by the owner Sir John Boyd and famed architect Sir Robert Taylor. It went into disarray by the 20th century and was restored from 1995 to 2005. The restoration was aided by the second owner’s daughter, Sarah Johnston, who painted detailed watercolors of the interior. This ten-year restoration won the Georgian Group National Award in 2004 and was reopened by Queen Elizabeth in 2005. As of 2011 the house is available for several functions throughout the seasons, and the public can tour the area during open house periods for a small fee.
By 1995, the English Heritage acquired the house and stated that the amount of deterioration of the house over the years put it at high risk, so a restoration period began. As of 2011 Danson House is used for several public and private functions year round. For part of the year, it is open as one of the more popular British museums of 18th century life and architecture.
Museum features of Danson House include audiovisual presentations, period displays and exhibitions. Stewards are available to guests for tours and questions about the house’s history. Areas of the house and park are also available for hire for wedding ceremonies.
Danson House still carries many of its original notable features. It showcases a large spiraling staircase, opulent entrance halls and salons, and the Danson organ that is still used for recitals. As of 2011, the large dining room still holds its original 18th century wall paintings. The original breakfast room includes a tourist tea room where an occasional light lunch served. Most of the furnishings were provided by the Bexley Heritage Trust. Surrounding Danson House is the large Danson park, normally open to the public year round.
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