[Click here for Visiting: opening times][B&B: staying here][Concerts and musical activities] Continue below for tours and heritage resources
This web-page is designed as an **** and **extensive** supplement, rather than a substitute for, the comprehensive guided tours which my family and I personally conduct around the house during public opening in the summer. No amount of documentation or written anecdote or fancy computer presentation can replace the unique experience of actually visiting a historic house, seeing its architectural proportions at first-hand and enjoying its particular ambience. We hope, however, that you will find exploring the tours presented here both fun, with useful links between sections, as well as inspirational! Remember the Latrobe motto: "He who seeks will find"!
Hammerwood celebrates its bi-centenary in 1992. This event, of course, invited us to pay renewed tribute to its famous architect, the great Latrobe, who designed this spectacular house as his first independent commission two hundred years earlier, before emigrating to the United States. Undoubtedly, Hammerwood represents a landmark in both English Greek Revival and American architecture.
But, however important a building's architect, this in itself certainly does not ensure its future well-being, as Hammerwood's chequered history and mixed fortunes demonstrate only too clearly. When I first saw Hammerwood in 1982, it had been reduced to a near ruin as a result of an accumulation of unfortunate circumstances. My first reaction was to turn my back on it, although I quickly reflected that if I didn't rescue it, no-one else would, and by the next year this potentially beautiful and important house would simply be lost forever. The task is by no means complete and many more years of work will be required.
Apart from saving it structurally, however, my purpose in restoring Hammerwood is to show how an almost lost house can be rescued, how it can be brought to life, opening its doors for visitors to enjoy. What has subsequently come to mind is that the story of the dereliction of the house and its resurrection is a parable of hope in a much wider context - with the ultimate hope that peope will refuse to allow things - their lives, their buildings, their world to fall into dereliction. I hope that you will consider our work worthwhile and inspire your friends to support the project.