Rennie Mackintosh House – through the keyhold of stifled ambition (Northampton)

Does the address 78 Derngate, Northampton mean anything to you?



I couldn’t find any other reason to visit Northampton.

It is the reason to visit.

While I was rather scathing last week of Shaw’s Corner (George Bernard Shaw’s former home), this house is quite in contrast remarkably unique.  The only one.

Behind its humble terrace facade lies ambition, forward thinking, commitment, interior design, inspiration and, above all, something quite unique.

You may ask which door of the three above we are going to enter, but perhaps the stylistic black and white stained glass of the middle black door is sufficiently special to give it away?

I know that the kitchen below certainly doesn’t give it away either, albeit that the owner had bought all the modern appliances available for the day, many from America.

When you go upstairs to the lounge, there is no mistaking that this isn’t an ordinary terraced house in Northampton:

This is a house that provides me with a good example of why I should write up visits promptly, but from memory I recall that this house was bought by the wealthy W.J Bassett-Lowke, who had just got married and who had ambitions of building a stylish home.  However, WW1 had just broken out and there was no question of such extravagance.

The solution of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s last major commission – Bassett-Lowke’s father bought him 78 Derngate as a wedding gift and the most modern of interiors was fashioned from a humble terrace house.

It’s certainly worth a pilgrimage to Northampton to see this house, and it has sparked my interest to visit Glasgow and see further examples of Mackintosh’s work.

Could you sleep with that going on above you?

When visited: April 2016

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