October 24, 2020

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The Real House That Inspired Bly Manor

The Haunting of Bly Manor is Netflix’s latest hit show, currently sitting at the top of the streaming service’s top 10. The show, a sequel of The Haunting of Hill House, is inspired by Henry James’ novel The Turn of the Screw and a number of other stories from the Anglophile American author.



a castle like building in a city: Bly Manor in 'The Haunting of Bly Manor' is not a real house – but it is inspired by one.


© Netflix
Bly Manor in ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ is not a real house – but it is inspired by one.

In the show, Victoria Pedretti plays Dani Clayton, an American woman who becomes the governess for children Miles (Benjamin Eva Ainsworth) and Flora (Amelie Bea Smith, who parents may be surprised to know is also the voice of Peppa Pig). She lives in with these two children in Bly Manor, a sprawling house infested with ghosts in the countryside in Essex in the United Kingdom.

However, Bly Manor is very much a piece of TV magic. Though set in England, the Netflix series was actually filmed nearly 5,000 miles away—not in Britain but in British Columbia, Canada (Vancouver to be precise).

Sets for the house were built at the Bridge Studios in Burnaby, Canada. A number of the exteriors, in fact, are not even real buildings but CGI. The chapel, for example, consisted of an interior set, with the exterior being computer generated. The Bly Manor exterior, also does not seem to be a real house, with Refinery 29 noting it looks similar to Thornewood Castle near Seattle, where the Stephen King miniseries Rose Red was once filmed.

The Haunting of Bly Manor | Official Trailer

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Thornewood Castle, however, is not the only real house that inspired The Haunting of Bly Manor and The Turn of The Screw before it.

In 1897, a year before the publication of that classic novella, James headed to Lamb House, an 18th-century mansion that bears a striking resemblance to the house in Bly where the story he wrote at Lamb House was set.

In fact, it seems that he only vaguely changed the details of the place he was writing: While Turn of the Screw takes place in Bly, Essex, Lamb House is situated in Rye, East Sussex.

Lamb House is still available for literature fans to visit. The Grade II* listed house has been opened to the public by the National Trust, where it is open as a writer’s house museum for both James and the author E.F. Benson, who wrote the Mapp and Lucia novels.

The house was given to the National Trust in 1950 by James’ nephew’s widow, and on display there are a number of the writer’s possessions. Also open is the walled garden James had designed—a garden far more welcoming than the desolated one at Bly.

The Haunting of Bly Manor is streaming now on Netflix.

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