Hardy table returns home to Max Gate

Hardy table returns home to Max Gate

Published by George Sharpe at 12:01am 1st February 2020.

A small table owned by Thomas Hardy's been returned to its Max Gate home after more than 80 years away.

The table was bequeathed to the National Trust after the previous owners written that it should be reutned to it's home in their will.

Almost the entire contents of Hardy's home were put to auction in the 1983 'Max Gate sale' which means very little of Hardy's own furnishings remain in the house.

Partners Micheal Ramsbotham and Barry Gray from Sussex looked after the table since 1966.

Table owned by Hardy along with the note discovered inside the drawer
A note found inside the table suggests Hardy and his wife may have brought the table to Upper Tooting, where they lived before Max Gate was built.

Elizabeth Grant, The National Trust's House Steward at Max Gate said: "We are very excited to add this new acquisition to our collection, particularly as so little of Hardy's original furniture remains"

The table was sold in a house auction after Hardy and his second wife Florence died in 1937. Since then it's had several owners.

It was auctioned and bought by Ernest Roscoe who passed it on to his friend Mr Ramsbotham in 1966 when he died. 

Michael was a Bletchley code breaker during the World War II and a novelist, so was very interested in the literary connection of the table.

A note from Mrs Hardy

Table owned by Hardy along with the note discovered inside the drawer

Once placed at Max Gate, a handwritten note was discovered in one of the drawers which says: "Mrs Hardy, 1 Arundel Terrace, Upper Tooting, to pay 1/6. Wootton."

The paper is not dated but, this would suggest that this where Hardy and his wife had the table brought to Upper Tooting, where the couple lived before Max Gate was built.

As the paper is not dated, the National Trust team cannot confirm anything for certain.