Upton House


In the 1930s Upton House was owned by Lord Bearsted, chairman of Shell and one of the world’s wealthiest men. On arrival, visitors see a home movie (apparently) shot by the family and their friends during a weekend house party in 1938. They see participants dancing, walking in the garden, and they catch glimpses of their personal belongings, jewellery, private diaries, secret letters (Lord Bearsted worked for MI6) and telegrams. When they subsequently explore the house, they find all these items are still there and can be picked up, examined, read, revealing the story of the Bearsteds and their world, and giving visitors the feeling that they have stepped into the film themselves.


Our work at Upton House provided the National Trust with a seminal project that guided their thinking on interpretation for the future.

with Sinclair Design Partnership Ltd.