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Winfield House, a neo-Georgian brick mansion, was built in 1936 by Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, after the original house was partly destroyed by fire. Winfield House, designed by London architect Leonard Rome Guthrie, occupies twelve acres on the northwest side of elegant Regent Park. Its gracious interiors are decorated in 18th-century style. Following World War II, Barbara Hutton gave the property to the U.S. Government to be repaired and used as the official residence of the American Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s. Her “most generous and patriotic offer” was accepted in a personal letter from President Harry Truman. For the token price of an American dollar, Winfield House passed into official American ownership.
Extensive redecoration was underwritten by Leonore and Walter Annenberg during their 1969 to 1974 residence. One of their most significant contributions was the installation of hand-painted Chinese wallpaper in the Garden Room. The Annenberg’s purchased the wallpaper from a 1794 Irish country house. The work done by Ambassador and Mrs. Annenberg to the residence ensured that future ambassadors could concentrate on preservation and conservation, not interior design.
Carol and Charles Price oversaw a number of FAPE projects, including the refurbishment of the Reception Hall, Green, Gold and Family Dining Rooms as well as the general conservation of paintings and of the Garden Room’s wallpaper, during their tenure in London from 1983-1989.
As part of FAPE’s millennium project, GIFT TO THE NATION, Ambassador and Mrs. Annenberg and Ambassador and Mrs. Price donated funds for several restoration projects at Winfield House. Dudley Poplak, an interior designer who was first hired by Mrs. Annenberg, returned to Winfield House to oversee the project. Major work was completed in the Dining Room, Reception Hall and Entrance Hall.
In 2001, Ambassador and Mrs. Annenberg established an endowment, entitled the Winfield House Gift, for the preservation and upkeep of Winfield House. Requests for funding are made by the State Department and presented to FAPE for approval. Projects which are consistent with the maintenance of the historical continuity of Winfield House receive funding from the endowment.
Winfield House’s Garden Room displays rare Chinese wallpaper installed by Ambassador and Mrs. Annenberg.