Owned by the National Trust since the family of grocers who lived there passed it on, it is one of the Trust's more unusual properties, and all the more fascinating for it. There are no expensive treasures or rare antiques; instead the house, known as Mr Straw's House, offers an authentic glimpse into how an ordinary British family lived a century ago. Built in 1905, it was the home of the Straws, a grocer family headed by William Straw senior and his wife, Florence.
The couple, who had two sons, William and Walter, decorated it in 1923 in the style of the day, with dark and heavy wallpaper, patterned carpets, dark wooden furniture and thick curtains to keep out the cold.
William Straw senior ran a thriving grocery and seed business, and his younger son Walter joined him in the business while William junior left to teach in London where he made a considerable fortune by investing in Marks & Spencer shares.
A well-to-do local family, they lived a quiet, respectable and well-ordered life until 1932 when Mr Straw senior died suddenly at the age of 68. In their grief, the family decided nothing would be changed. (Read more.)Share