The Main Hall

The Main Hall was the hub of this historic house, where all the family and their friends could come together and join in various activities. It is a room in which to relax, yet it is also designed to impress. This “living hall”, as described by Arts & Crafts architect MH Baillie Scott, refers to the ideal of Medieval life as one of unity and beauty, a view shared by other Arts & Crafts architects.

On closer inspection, this is not just one room but a succession of rooms, some large, some intimate - “a whole village of rooms”, as one critic remarked. This open-plan arrangement is one of Baillie Scott’s particular trademarks. All parts of the Main Hall, from the double height central portion and the single storey eastern section to the inglenook fireplace and the Minstrel’s Gallery are linked visually.

In the central portion of the historic Main Hall, high windows emphasise its size and grandeur, and an impressive inglenook fireplace forms the focus of attention. The Arts & Crafts architectural treatment of the fireplace itself is remarkably modern.

The single storey section of the Main Hall once housed a billiard table below the original copper light fittings (found hidden away, covered in dust and cobwebs in the dark recesses of a cupboard). A fitted bench in the panelling enabled people to watch the game in comfort.

Baillie Scott cleverly used light, both natural and artificial, to define different areas and to create their distinct atmospheres. The Peacock wallpaper frieze by Shand Kydd, installed in around 1906, contains glowing colours and forms a contrast to the rich dark tones of the oak timber panelling.

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  • The Main Hall © Nick Wood