What a day! One recent Saturday I felt as if I had been transported back in time and I was once again reminded why I fell in love with the Surrey Hills in the first place. I had the great pleasure of spending a day in Blackheath village and visiting a few of its magnificent Arts and Crafts houses. This hidden gem in the heart of the Hills really is worth the visit.
I was a bit worried in the morning of the visit as it was pouring with rain when I left home and I was taking a friend with me promising her a day she wouldn’t regret. Luckily the sun came out again as we entered the Cricket Pavilion where the other members of the group were gathered. The sun stayed with us for the whole day and my friend enjoyed herself so much that at the end of the day she decided to join the Surrey Hills Society.
Thanks to the excellent organisation of the Society, we had Sarah Sullivan – an architect and member of the Arts & Crafts Movement in Surrey – as our leader for the day. We were able to hear all about the history of the village and especially its Arts and Craft identity through the work of architects like Charles Harrison Townsend. We also learned about influential women having sojourned in Blackheath – people like Anna Lea Merritt whose work can still be admired on the walls of the village church.
A wonderful lunch and delightful cream tea were served in the Arts and Crafts style Cricket Pavilion. Even a Victoria sponge cake, freshly made by the daughter of one of the home-owners of a house we visited, made its way to our table! Delicious as it was, it disappeared in a flash.
What a lovely village and such marvellous and friendly inhabitants! They say that once you settle down in Blackheath, you never move away. You might swap houses with your neighbours, but not go further than that. And now having seen it for myself, I truly understand why.