Wimbledon

It’s no coincidence that when I saw this movie I was instantly taken by Peter Colt’s parents’ house.  I had just moved back to the US from the UK where I spent a year travelling around with my graduate school class studying residential architecture and interiors.

Peter Colt's parents house in the movie Wimbledon is actually Norney, Shackleford, Surrey, 1897 by Charles Francis Annesley Voysey

We had even made a trip to see Broadleys (1898)  on Lake Windermere in Cumbria.  And except that Broadleys in on the water, the two houses – Broadleys and the Colt’s home in the movie – are quite similar.

Broadleys, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, 1898

It was a house called Norney, by C.F.A. Voysey, that was used in the movie Wimbledon as the main character, Peter Colt’s, parents’ home.  I think that’s what I love about Voysey’s houses; they always feel like a parents’ home to me.  The warmth of the wood, the organic feel of the interior design and the way they appear to have grown over time, as the family has, makes them welcoming and comfortable.  Yet, at the same time, their use of vernacular architectural details and their sheer size give them a regal quality that their often used title of ‘cottage’ usually doesn’t cover.

Norney's facade as seen in Wimbledon

According to the English Heritage website, Norney was built for Reverend Leighton Crane.  The round window, seen in the picture above, was often seen in Voysey’s architecture.

Exterior of Norney near the rear garden as seen in the movie

At Broadleys, large bands of glazing jut out from the house in bay windows, a design feature also seen at Norney

C.F.A. Voysey was an English architect, textile designer and furniture designer during the Arts and Crafts period.  And though his designs followed the simple country look of the Movement, using the English vernacular style of the 17th century, he is still considered a pioneer of Modern Architecture.  Though, that distinction comes from those whom he influenced and was not his intention.

Broadleys lock detail

Voysey paid very close attention to detail – he designed the furniture for his houses – and even the lock designs as seen in the example above from Broadleys.  Other similarities I noticed between Broadleys and Norsey, while watching Wimbledon, included the upstairs hallway and the staircase.

Upstairs hallway at Broadleys

Upstairs hallway of Norney as seen in Wimbledon

Both hallways feature a balcony where one can look over the room below.  They also both have rounded doorways and slanted ceilings or walls that make sure you know you’re upstairs and just below the line of the roof.  I associate upstairs ceilings that slant with small cottages and it is with details like this that Voysey is able to give these substantial homes the feel of a small cottage.

The staircase at Broadleys

The staircase at Norney with Carl and Peter Colt (James McAvoy and Paul Bettany) in the movie Wimbledon

While you can see that the layout of Broadleys and Norney are mirror images of each other, their similarities are striking.  They are after all both created with the architectural language of Voysey.  Both staircases feature flat and closely spaced rails.  They also both have wood panelled walls and a highly placed windows in the stairwell that lives in an area between the two floors, not really belonging to either one.  Unfortunately, during my trip to Broadleys, I did not find James McAvoy on the staircase.  But it wasn’t a total loss because I loved my time spent there and it helped me to instantly recognize the house of Peter Colt’s family as a piece of Voysey architecture.

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4 Comments

Filed under Modern Film

4 responses to “Wimbledon

  1. Christina

    Hey Whitney — love the blog!! What a cool idea! Good luck with it!

  2. Just want to say your article is striking. The clarity in your post is simply striking and i can take for granted you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the ac complished work. Excuse my poor English. English is not my mother tongue.

  3. jack

    hey, after enjoy and stumbling across your loves (that are so similar to mine) of film and architecture, i just wanted to turn you to a film that used Voysey’s Broad Leys as a location, externally and internally, The French Lieutenant’s Women, starring Meryl Strep and Jeremey Irons.

  4. Following all, what a nice web site and informative posts, I will add backlink bookmark this internet site?

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