Please note: This house does not offer free entry to Historic House members.
For alternative options please see other opening options.

Other opening

Overview

Island Hall is an important mid 18th century mansion, owned and restored by an award-winning interior designer.

Located on the banks of the Great Ouse in the centre of Godmanchester, this family home has Georgian rooms with fine period detail and interesting possessions relating to the owners' ancestors since their first occupation of the house in 1800. Godmanchester was, in Roman times, a major settlement at an important crossroads and became one of England's earliest boroughs when it was awarded its charter in 1212. Beyond is Portholme, reputedly the largest water meadow in Britain and an area of outstanding natural beauty.

 Island Hall has approximately one and a half acres of formal garden with a large river frontage and a two-acre ornamental island in the river – from which the Hall takes its name – linked to the mainland by a Chinese bridge. ‘Christopher Vane Percy’s idea for this green garden is that it be idyllic and “is a bit fluffy”, but there little fluffy about it. Instead, it is a designer’s garden par excellence.’ Leslie Geddes-Brown, The Gardens of England: Treasures of the National Gardens Scheme. 

‘[Mr Vane Percy] has completed the house's restoration: not only has it been redecorated but the 18th century cupola over the stables has been rebuilt, the island bought back and the Chinese bridge reconstructed. The long task of returning to the garden to the vision of the “stillest repose” which Octavia Hill enjoyed is now well advanced. She saw the house as a reminder “of what that deep attachment is to an inherited spot of old earth, rich with memories of days long ago.” By some miracle, that attachment has endured.’ Michael Hall, Country Life.


Opening
Opening

Visit by Private Tour only.

Find Us
Find us

Leave the A14 at the Godmanchester turn off and follow the sign to Huntingdon and Godmanchester. After half a mile, pass through the town centre (with the Chinese Bridge on your left and the church spire on your right). Just before the pelican crossing, turn left into the Mill Yard public car park (free). Island Hall is a red brick house set back from the road to the north of the car park. For Mill Yard public parking adjacent to the house please use the car park’s postcode: PE29 2AQ.

Coaches are welcome to drop off passengers in front of the house, which is in Post Street  just beyond the pelican crossing. For long term parking, coaches can park in at Bridge Place Pay and Display Car Park – ½ a mile from the house – at a charge of £10. To book a coach to park at Bridge Place Godmanchester please telephone Huntingdonshire District Council on 01480 388388 and ask to speak to the Operations Division or you can email: crm_ops@huntingdonshire.gov.uk.

Forthcoming Tours

17 Nov 2020
3PM - 6PM | £23.50

18 Nov 2020
3PM - 6PM | £23.50

13 Dec 2020
3PM - 6PM | £23.50

14 Dec 2020
3PM - 6PM | £23.50

Tour Overview

The tours feature the ground floor rooms of the house, plus three first floor rooms and a guided tour of the grounds.

Tour duration

2.5 - 3 hours

Tour prices

£22.50 per person.

Refreshments

Afternoon tea.

Access notes

Ground floor only.

Restrictions

No dogs or stilettos.


Opening
Opening

Visit by Private Tour only.

Find Us
Find us

Leave the A14 at the Godmanchester turn off and follow the sign to Huntingdon and Godmanchester. After half a mile, pass through the town centre (with the Chinese Bridge on your left and the church spire on your right). Just before the pelican crossing, turn left into the Mill Yard public car park (free). Island Hall is a red brick house set back from the road to the north of the car park. For Mill Yard public parking adjacent to the house please use the car park’s postcode: PE29 2AQ.

Coaches are welcome to drop off passengers in front of the house, which is in Post Street  just beyond the pelican crossing. For long term parking, coaches can park in at Bridge Place Pay and Display Car Park – ½ a mile from the house – at a charge of £10. To book a coach to park at Bridge Place Godmanchester please telephone Huntingdonshire District Council on 01480 388388 and ask to speak to the Operations Division or you can email: crm_ops@huntingdonshire.gov.uk.

Other opening


Island Hall's history and features

Island Hall is an elegant riverside mansion built in the late 1740s. It is built of red brick with stone dressings to windows and doors, to a neat, classical design, the central three-storey portion standing under a classical triangular pediment.

The frontage to the road is exactly matched by the garden front. Both side wings are two storeys. The central porches on both sides have Tuscan columns and stone surrounds, and the windows on the first floor have distinctive, Baroque stone surrounds.

The interior of Island Hall has some very fine elements, a spacious stone-flagged entrance hall, with a screen of Doric columns, and an exceptionally handsome oak staircase with a carved acanthus leaf scroll detail and turned and twisted balusters. The drawing room and dining room also have exceptionally handsome carved wood panelling original to the building of the house.

It is, in feel, very much in the spirit of an early Georgian country house, but is in fact built within the small town of Godmanchester. The house was built for John Jackson Esq, Receiver-General for Huntingdon, and bought by Jacob Julian Baumgartner in 1804, a merchant of Huguenot Swiss extraction.

Restoration

Given over to the WAAF and RAF during the war, converted to flats after the war, and in 1977 badly damaged by fire, it was initially restored by the Herrtage family, with the help of a Historic Buildings Council repairs grant and was then bought by Christopher Vane Percy, a direct descendant of Jacob Julian Baumgartner, in 1983, as home for himself, his wife, Lady Linda, and their three children, Maximilian, Grace and Tryce. It is furnished and decorated as a family home, and includes portraits and heirlooms, including a portrait of a Percy relation, Selina, Countess of Huntingdon.

The Bridge and Gardens

The gardens are enclosed with 18th century brick walls and mature trees, and are connected by a Chinese-style bridge to the island in the River Great Ouse from which the house takes its name. The Chinese bridge is a replica of the original 18thcentury bridge, long lost, but happily recorded in old photographs. Rebuilt in 1988, the bridge's restoration received the 1989 Environmental trophy from the Rotary Club of Huntingdon, and the Cambridge Association of Architects Craftsmanship Award in the same year. The restoration of the 18th century cupola to the mews house, in 1995, also received a Conservation and Design Award from the District Council.