Amongst Ham Houseʼs other claims to fame is its fine collection of Coade stone statues. Coade stone is, in fact, a form of very hard ceramic that was cast and then fired, and was named after Mrs. Eleanor Coade, its inventor, who founded the Coade Factory in Lambeth in 1769. Although referred to always as Mrs. Coade, in fact, she never married and was a formidable woman by all accounts.
Although a lengthy and complicated manufacturing process, Coade Stone statues and garden ornaments cost less than a tenth of the price of the equivalent carved stone item, and lead to the wide-spread use of statues in late eighteenth century gardens.
The River God outside the Entrance Front of Ham House is one of the largest pieces ever produced.
Contrary to popular belief the formula was not lost on her death and Coade Stone can still be produced today. However, given the complexity of the operation compared to modern cement based processes, it is no longer economically viable.
Check the National Trustʼs website for opening times etc.