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Visit Eldon House
During Open Houses, we toured Eldon House which is downtown less than two blocks from my son's condo. Eldon House is unusual as far as period museums as it was donated to the city of London (in 1959) complete with most of the furnishings that the family had accumulated over 100+ years. If I remember what our tour guide said, the family took their china set and a few personal things, but left the furniture, their collections (they travelled a lot in the late 1800's), the kitchen utensils etc.
Captain John and Amelia Harris moved to London, Ontario in 1834 after a career in the British Royal Navy. There are paintings where the house is the only building visible on the shores of the Thames River. It is described as London's oldest residence. The Harrises had many kids including eligible daughters, so their home was called upon by many of the young men from the nearby military garrison, and in fact four of their daughters married military men and moved to London, England.
Succeeding generations of Harrises got to travel far and wide, so the furnishings includes things like artwork from around the world and an elephant foot made into a container for walking sticks.
Although just before the Harris family donated the house, they had perhaps one family servent, in its prime, the Harrises employed numerous servants - maids, cooks, gardeners to keep up the place. At least one of the Harris women kept meticulous records, so historians can determine how many staff they had, or how many people were living in the house, etc.
Between 1834 and 1959, home construction underwent a lot of change, and Eldon House was no exception with additions as families got bigger and upgrading water and heating services in the house, etc.
If you have any interest in the history of London, Eldon House is worth a visit. As well as the home, the grounds have been restored as a 19th century garden, and the land below the house is now Harris Park. Supposedly they hold traditional teas regularly but we missed them. Eldon House is administered by Museum London and in 2008 costs $6 to see, although there are days of the week where admission is by donation.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
This is London's oldest surviving private residence. It was built in 1834 and used to be the centre of social and cultural activities. Now contains family heirlooms, antique furniture and other priceless treasures. Walk around the beautiful garden and have a traditional tea which is served on the lawns from June to August, Tuesday to Sunday from 2pm to 4pm.
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