This week on WHITEBALLOON INSIGHTS we hear how Tara and her team at Linden House are offering an alternative to traditional funerals.
Q: Linden House is a charming four-storey property set on the riverfront in Hammersmith, London, with an interesting past. Can you tell us a little bit about its early history?
As you say, Linden House is an elegant building with a south-facing façade. Currently used as a sailing and rowing clubhouse, the property was purchased in 2001 by the London Corinthian Trust, a registered charity.
The area surrounding Linden House was known as Seagreens. Over time the land was divided into various estates and dwellings such as Seagreens, Upper Mall House, Linden House and Grafton House were built.
Although the exact date of construction may never be known, it is first recorded as a named dwelling in 1795. Linden House was used as a private house for much of the 18th and 19th century, but the Victorian era brought major changes to the area.
By late Victorian times the House became home to St. Katherine’s College for Girls and this occupation lasted until at least the outbreak of the First World War. In 1913 the Directors of the local bakery firm J. Lyons & Co bought Linden House as its sports and social club.
During the Second World War the property was used for various purposes to support the war effort, before reverting back to a clubhouse use in 1946. Lyons remained in occupation until at least 1956 and the building subsequently transferred to Council ownership.
In the 1950s the local Council wanted to relocate the London Corinthian Sailing Club (LCSC) from their old, damaged clubhouse downstream. Linden House was offered as a replacement property to rent.
Linden House has a long and happy association with the River Thames. It is now owned and run by the London Corinthian Trust, a registered charity that promotes water sport and the preservation of the House. It is also the clubhouse for the London Corinthian Sailing Club and the Sons of the Thames Rowing Club.
These associations help to give Linden House its unique character and atmosphere as a venue and part of the role of the London Corinthian Trust is to support the upkeep and preservation of this architectural jewel by hiring out its rooms and facilities and offering hospitality services.
Q: You are a Private Members’ Club but non-members can also book the House for functions, including funerals, memorials or celebrations of life. The rooms look incredibly peaceful and light, with both large and more intimate spaces. What else do you feel makes Linden House a wonderful venue for a funeral reception?
Linden House is a perfect venue for a wake or service. We work with families to create a ceremony that is right for them, whether it is a celebration of life before a cremation or burial, or a memorial service at a later date. We are a short drive away from Mortlake Crematorium and our beautiful reception room can accommodate a coffin, if families wish to do so.
Our caring team at Linden House are there to help, whether it is advice on catering or flowers, or practical help with other arrangements. We have various rooms at Linden House to cater for different size and types of gathering, so can be flexible according to a family’s needs.
Q: Families are able to have the coffin present. Are you finding that people are increasingly open to non-traditional settings for their service?
Definitely, we are asked more and more for non-traditional services with the coffin present. Most people are used to services at a crematorium or place of worship and do not realise that the ceremony can be held elsewhere. We are really pleased to be able to offer an alternative.
Linden House is such a calm and peaceful venue and is truly a hidden gem in South West London on the river.
Q: The property is South-facing, so bright and airy, with a terrace overlooking the river. Do you have a favourite room in the House?
Now this is a hard one to say as each room is South facing and all bring its own style and feel. But if you are looking for a small intimate service then for me it would be the Captain’s Room on the ground floor. If your service is a larger party then the Ballroom is perfect.
Q: And finally, I am sure life is very busy, so how do you unwind at the end of the day? Do you manage to enjoy time out on the water?
For me I love to walk home along the river Thames and soak up the atmosphere which the river brings.