© Graham Watson
Following the Great Bed’s departure from Ware it was used as a tourist attraction before its offer for sale and purchase by the Victoria & Albert Museum
The gateway is all that remains of Rye House, famous for the Rye House plot, a plan to assassinate Charles II of England.
The Great Bed was brought here by Henry Teale as a tourist attraction to bring people out of London into his pleasure garden. There is a memory of the bed being used as a ‘bouncy castle’ in the 1920’s!
Following a waning interest the Great Bed was offered for sale in 1931.
Rye House today
The Great Bed at Rye House
The Great Bed was on sale at Frank Partridge’s Auction Rooms. Frank had the idea of trying to sell it to a rich Texan but fortunately it was purchased for £4,000 by the Victoria and Albert Museum with a grant from the Art Fund.
There is a piece of the 17th century coverlet, that was with the Great Bed at the time of its sale, on display in Ware Museum.
The Great Bed is currently on display in the British Galleries at the V&A Museum in London, but in April 2012 it will be returning to Ware for a year on display in Ware Museum with the assistance of a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant, Ware Town Council and other local donors.
The Great Bed at V&A Museum
The Great Bed coverlet
Star Gallery at Ware Museum
Ware Museum first investigated bringing the bed home in 2005.
Seven years, and a lot of hard work later, the dream is coming to fruition with the return of the Great Bed for a year from April 2012.
The Great Bed’s time in Ware stretches from the Spanish Armada to the Railway Age - 300 years of history. There will be many events during the year to celebrate the contribution of the Great Bed to the heritage of Ware and Great Britain.