Former summer residence
The house was the former summer residence of Lieutenant Governor Skelton. The house was renovated and extended by carpenters from Northumberland and the soldiers from the barracks and is composed of an assortment of buildings linked together. Upon Napoleon’s arrival, it was decorated with rudimentary rugs and furniture bought on the island. The garden, however, was inhospitable.
The valets, Marchand and Ali, and the housekeeper, Cipriani, made some basic improvements to the interior comfort. The British government also sent some extra furniture from the United Kingdom. Napoleon designed the gardens himself and his arrangement is still visible today.
Difficult access conditions
To reach Longwood, visitors had to have the governor’s permission and a hearing notice from the Grand Marshall, General Bertrand. Count Montholon or General Gourgaud would receive visitors in uniform on the veranda and would accompany them to the billiard room which was used as an antechamber. This, the biggest room in the house, was the most appropriate for exercise. Napoleon would sometimes dictate while pacing up and down, his hands behind his back. Napoleon made two holes in the shutters with his knife to enable him to observe the watchmen and the coming and going of the British.
A preserved interior
Longwood House has a veranda, a room with a snooker table, a dining room, a living room, a library, a bathroom and two bedrooms.
Today, all of Napoleon’s apartments in Longwood House are home to French heritage collections and can be visited.
Find out visiting times and ticket costs for Longwood House