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Kelmscott House

Kelmscott House is a Georgian brick mansion at 26 Upper Mall in Hammersmith, overlooking the River Thames. It was the London home of English textile designer, artist, writer and socialist William Morris from October 1878 until his death in October 1896.[1]

Originally called The Retreat, Morris renamed it after the Oxfordshire village of Kelmscott where he had lived at Kelmscott Manor from June 1871.

Nearby, Morris began his "adventure in printing" with his private press, the Kelmscott Press, which he started nearby at 16 Upper Mall in 1891.

Previous ownersEdit

The property was once owned by Sir Francis Ronalds' family. In 1816, he built the first electric telegraph in its garden.[2] From 1867, then called The Retreat, it was the family home of poet, minister and novelist George MacDonald[3] who wrote two of his most popular children's books, At the Back of the North Wind (1871) and The Princess and the Goblin (1873), there.[1]


The building is a private house, though the basement and coach house entrance serve as headquarters of the William Morris Society, whose premises are open to the public on Thursday and Saturday afternoons.

The William Morris Society temporarily re-formed the local branch of the Socialist League (UK, 1885) to participate in the 2011 London anti-cuts protest.[4] The banner was paraded again on 20 October 2012.


  1. ^ a b Elletson, Helen (2009). A History of Kelmscott House. Hammersmith: William Morris Society. ISBN 978-0-903283-27-4.
  2. ^ Ronalds, B. F. (2016). Sir Francis Ronalds: Father of the Electric Telegraph. London: Imperial College Press. ISBN 978-1-78326-917-4.
  3. ^ "London Gardens Online". London Parks & Gardens Trust. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  4. ^ "The William Morris Society and the TUC Day of Action". William Morris Society UK. Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit