MATT CLARK looks around the Arts & Craft house in York that was once home to the Terry family, and discovers how a young volunteer came up with the Art of Design theme running until June.

WALTER Brierley knew a thing or two about building houses. Known as the Yorkshire Lutyens, he enjoyed a successful career with more than 300 commissions across the north, among them several grand country piles.

But his monument has to be Goddards, family home of York chocolate baron Noel Goddard Terry, not least because Brierley died as the roof was put on in 1926.

Built in the Arts & Crafts Style, Goddards is a Grade I listed gem on Tadcaster Road, not far from the former Terry’s factory. For the past 30 years it has been used as the National Trust’s Yorkshire regional office, but in 2012 the house opened to the public.

This year the theme, until June, will be The Art of Design. It's the idea of 17-year-old volunteer Celia Wood, who was so inspired by the house and garden that she produced a series of sketches to accompany a trail that picks out details and designs of interest.

Now the National Trust wants visitors to pick up a pencil and pad and produce their own drawings.

The tour begins, not surprisingly, in the hall. Look closely and you will notice a quirky, yet highly practical detail. The oak wall panelling has ridges to the sides and top edges, but not the bottom. Why? It's a clever way to prevent dust gathering apparently.

Sleuthing skills whetted, the next stop is the study and something here doesn't look right. The exquisite carved panel above the fireplace is definitely not Arts and Crafts, But what is it? No more clues, you'll have to go along to discover the answer.

The house is not a complete recreation of how it looked when the Terry’s lived here; their Georgian furniture is now on display at Fairfax House. Instead the National Trust has created rooms to match those prosperous days of the 1930s.

The drawing room is the most opulent, with original features throughout, notably the barrel vaulted ceiling, a design Brierley particularly liked and incorporated in his own home.

The section by the fireplace was designed to be a room within a room; a feature of the Arts and Crafts movement, which gives space to retire and chat.

York Press:
 Volunteer guide Helen Turner sifts through correspondence between Kathleen Terry and her husband Noel on display in the drawing room, while Noel was at the front during the Great War   

"The beauty of Goddards is it's a home," says volunteer guide Helen Turner. "You can sit on the sofas in the drawing room and get a sense of what it was like to live here; to live it for a day and enjoy the ambience.

"Everyone says it's so homely. You can imagine the family listening to music."

Or writing letters to one another.

"This year we are concentrating on Kathleen because not a lot has been said about her before," says Helen. "This is her writing desk and I find reading the correspondence between her and Noel while he was at the front very poignant."

Indeed so. One says 'Just a line to let you know I'm still alive. Life out here is very strange, quite intolerable at times, interspersed with truly awful moments, it's a bit of a trial for us both I'm afraid.'

Noel was wounded at the Battle of the Somme and, in another missive, he writes of his frustrations at being laid up while shells whizz overhead.

Letters of a less harrowing nature are also on display. For the first time, correspondence between Noel and Brierley can be seen, where the pair exchange views on the best way to embellish their already lavish designs.

Time to move on and the stairwell is a good example of Arts and Crafts as a reaction to mass production. The hand carved oak balusters and geometric lead patterning on the windows are particularly fine. So are the window fasteners.

Peter's bedroom is the next stop, where it is more about what you can't see than what you can. The William Morris style wallpaper is so important that it has been covered with protective, removable, lining paper.

However, a small portion has been left uncovered to show visitors what is hidden underneath. Only imagination, a pencil and paper can reveal its former glory and for inspiration, peek next door into Kenneth's bedroom for a hint of even finer wallpaper.

Talking of which, don't miss Sue Mann's video installation, called Always Coming Back To The House, which is inspired by the archive of 1920s and 1930s wallpaper samples and childhood reminiscences of the 1920s childhood of the Terry children at Goddards.

Her etchings, laser cut patterns and sketchbooks are all on show, while the patterned walls in Kenneth's bedroom lend Sue's projections an ethereal quality.

The Art of Design tour then continues outside. Look up at the geometric patterns made with two-inch red, handmade bricks.

Higher still are some quintessentially Arts and Crafts triplicate chimney stacks. These were a favourite design feature for Brierley. Even his pillar supporting the sun room veranda has intricate woven brickwork.

York Press:
Kathleen and Noel Terry pictured in their garden at Goddards

Last, but by no means least, you will need to keep your eyes peeled as you walk around. Some of the downpipes bear the date the house was finished (1927) along with Noel and Kathleen's initials along with a roaring lion in places. But be warned, some don't.

With the tour complete it's time for a stroll around the four acres of gardens, designed by George Dillistone.

And when you are done, how about a spot of afternoon tea in that very homely drawing room, while sitting on the sofas and getting a sense of what it was like to live here. To live it for a day and simply enjoy the ambience.

Goddards is open from Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays from 11am to 5pm. Talks about the house and garden design will be given until the end of June. For details go to Admission prices: Adult: £5.00, Child: £2.50, Family: £12.50.