The Percy Grainger House
Welcome to the Percy Grainger House
Welcome to the Percy Grainger house in White Plains, home of Percy and Ella Ström Grainger. With its brown shingled sides curving up from the surrounding lawn, and crowned by its forest of gables, it seems to grow from the land, at one with its ancient trees. From it still emanate the sounds of Percy Grainger's music.
We can imagine that Percy and Ella are welcoming us to visit and talk about music, ever generous in their hospitality.
Percy and Ella Grainger, Christmas Eve Open House, 1959 (from Thomas P. Lewis, A Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger)
Percy and Ella's home
The house which we know as the Percy Grainger house, at 7 Cromwell Place in White Plains, New York, was built in 1893 by the Cromwell family. This branch of the Cromwells was descended from the brother of Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, who died in 1658. When Oliver's son Richard, who succeeded him, was replaced by Charles II in 1660, as the monarchy was restored, the brother moved to the Netherlands.
Percy Grainger and his mother Rose moved into the house in 1921. After Rose Grainger's death in 1922, Percy spent little time in the house, but in 1928 he married Ella Ström-Brandelius, and from then until his death in 1961, it was Percy and Ella's home. It continued to be Ella's home until her death in 1979. Since then, the house has been maintained by the International Percy Grainger Society.
The structure exhibits some changes made by Grainger, notably the large picture window on the south side of the living room. (This change almost derailed the listing of the house on the National Register, whose keepers are picky about landmarks being "in their original state," even when the change was made by the building's most illustrious inhabitant. Fortunately, good sense prevailed.) Grainger also built the fireproof vaults in the basement, to protect his music manuscripts. Other features, like Grainger's exercise bar, lashed between the columns at the entrance to the living room, which he used to maintain his vaunted physical fitness, can be noted when touring the house.
Entering the house
On these Web pages we offer a virtual tour of the Grainger house. You may, in fact, prefer to make an actual visit to the house. A map and directions to the house in White Plains, NY, will be found at the bottom of this page.
The tour starts when you go up the front steps. Percy would hop up and down these steps on one leg for exercise. (From Inez Bull, 7 Cromwell Place: A Loving Tribute to Percy Grainger.)
Going inside the house
The house has two main stories, a garret tucked up behind dormer windows, and a basement. Below is a plan of the ground floor. You may click on the name of any room on the plan itself or on the accompanying list to read about it and see the room as it is today. The rooms have not changed much since Percy and Ella lived there.
The second floor includes the bedrooms and bathroom, opening off of a square upper hall. The basement contains the fireproof vaults specially built by Percy Grainger for his music archives.
Ella Grainger's paintings
Ella Grainger was a poet and painter in her own right. At the Grainger House, you can see some of Ella's paintings, including portraits of herself and Percy.
Portraits of Percy and Ella, painted by Ella. Percy is wearing one of his famous Towel Suits, designed from striped toweling by Percy, made for him by Ella. (Photos by Pamela Tucker.)
If you want to visit the Grainger House in person
How to get to the Grainger House
As in the days of Percy and Ella, you are always welcome to visit the Grainger House in person. Use the map above to find your way around White Plains.
To arrange a visit, write to Mr. Stewart Manville, Curator and Archivist, at the Grainger House, 7 Cromwell Place, White Plains, NY 10601, or telephone (914) 582-1237 or (914) 948-7436.
To get to the Grainger House by train, take the Metro-North railroad from Grand Central Terminal in New York to the White Plains station; take a cab to the Grainger House. Or, if you want to emulate Percy himself, take a brisk walk; it's about a mile.
To get there by car, take the Bronx River Parkway to the Westchester County Center; drive south on Tarrytown Road and turn left on Main Street (just follow the traffic); turn right on Lexington Avenue, then left on Post Road, then right on Cromwell Place.
Return to Grainger home page.