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Osterley Park in west London is often used as a film location, and in a sense the idea of a film set is a good way to understand this eighteenth century Robert Adam designed building. It was built as a retreat for rich men who made their money in London, and was one of a number in this area. It played the part of a country house, but inspite of large landscaped grounds, it actually wasn't far from the office in London. This was a country house close to the city, and it lacked the huge agricultural estate which surrounded a traditional house of this sort. The irony of a country house close to the city is more pointed today as London has expanded greatly since the eighteenth century, and now the M4 runs through Osterley's park land! In its styling Osterley is also something of an actor. Robert Adam was a very fashionable designer who flattered his wealthy clients with a classical style of architecture. Adam's buildings have a certain gravitas, as though they had been there for millennia, and were the homes of Roman senators or emperors. This no doubt gave London bankers, such as Sir Francis Child an added sense of self importance. It was Francis Child who in 1761 purchased Osterley Park and commissioned Adam to knock down a sixteenth century manor house and build him a new house. Adam built to a classical theme, and left one side of the house open, framing the opening with an arch based on a Greek temple.
The house passed to the Jersey family in 1782, and remained the seat of the Earl's of Jersey until World War Two, when the 9th Earl allowed the grounds to be used as an unofficial school for training the local Home Guard. In preparation for a German invasion combat training took place in the grounds. A building used as an explosives store at the rear of the house can still be seen. In 1949 the 9th Earl of Jersey gave Osterley to the National Trust. Since then the house has been open as a tourist attraction, and of course as a film location. Top Secret (1984), The Young Victoria (2009), The Da Vinci Code (2006) all had scenes filmed here. Television productions which have used Osterley include The Persuaders starring Roger Moore and Tony Curtis. And of course we mustn't forget Chucklevision which filmed here.
There is a film presentation about Osterley in the stables. There is a cafe and shop, and walks in the grounds.
Opening Times: Opening hours for National Trust properties can be complex. Please use contact details below.
Directions: On the A4 between Hammersmith and Hounslow. Click here for an interactive map centred on Osterley Park.
Address: Osterley Park and House, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 4RB
Access: Disabled access is limited by steps on the ground floor and stairs to other floors. The grounds have an accessible route. Powered wheelchairs are available. Adapted toilet facilities are provided.
telephone: 020 8232 5050