Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Trust In Me - Georgian Splendour In Sleepy Shropshire



A rock gig and a boozy Wetherspoons all-dayer, what my birthday week was lacking was some culture so this morning, wrapped up in big coats, hats and thermal undies we headed across the border to the county of Shropshire.

Warning - it's been a while, we were excited - this post is photo-heavy!!!



Attingham Park was the seat of Noel Hill, 1st Baron Berwick and Whig politician, who was awarded his title in 1784 by William Pitt the Younger in gratitude for assistance given in the restructuring of the East India Company. Hill already owned a property on the site of Attingham Park called Tern Hall but, with the money he received in addition to his title, he commissioned architect, George Steuart, to design a new and grander house to be built around the original hall.


Work on Attingham Park was completed in 1785 and is the National Trust's fourth most visited property. Within the estate there are five Grade II listed buildings, including the stable block, the toll house and a couple of bridges that span the River Tern. There are also twelve Grade II listed structures which include the retaining walls of the estate, the bee house (photos below), the ice house, the walled garden, the ha-ha and the Home Farm.

The Regency Bee House, one of only two known to have existed in the UK


Attingham Park has had rather a colourful history, originally a family home, during the First World War, Thomas, the 8th Lord Berwick, lent the property to a Dutch American family, the Van Bergens, who established Attingham as a hospital for soldiers wounded at the front. by 1916 it had sixty beds and an operating theatre. During the Second World War it was home to a group of evacuated schoolgirls from Birmingham. It was gifted to the National trust in 1947. From 1948 until 1971 it served as an adult education college.

The walled garden






After exploring the organic garden we took a gentle mile-long stroll along the banks of the River Tern then headed for the mansion house. For most of the month of December there's a 1940s Xmas theme - two of my favourite things, NOT! But, gaudy ornaments and the Andrews Sisters backing track aside, there was plenty of spectacular Georgian furniture, glorious architectural detail and fine art to distract me. The vintage clothes on display were pretty special, too - especially the midnight blue velvet gown in the drawing room (photos below).





Check out those knitted patchwork blankets draped across the sofa in the East Ante-Room.


I'm pretty sure Lynn's got a 1940s cotton pinny very similar to this one. 


 I'm not sure if Noel, the 1st baron Berwick ever travelled to India but there's lots of Indian art on display including two large murals depicting a particularly unpleasant tiger hunt.




The boudoir, a love token from the first baron to his wife, was hand painted by French painters.






The showcase of stuffed exotic birds was pretty horrible.




 The picture gallery was designed by John Nash in 1805, the glass roof flawed from the beginning as it leaked. 


The second baron went bankrupt in 1827 and the contents of the house were auctioned, although many were reacquired in later years.


I loved this Italianate table. Those chaps look like centaurs - the birth sign of us Sagittarians.


I adored the portrait of the exotic looking lady with the white blouse. The bench with the winged lions makes me go weak at the knees - gorgeous!


The decoration on the walls was completely original, not looking too bad for over two hundred years old. 

The rooms on the first floor were unfurnished. They currently house exhibition space and details of the on-going conservation work.




WEARING: Super bright vintage maxi by Honeycomb (amazing birthday present from Ann), 1960s sheepskin & suede coat (Second to None), 1970s tooled leather bag, Stuart Weizmann boots & felted wool hat (all charity shopped)

 I always love the kitchens in stately homes. This black range is a beauty. There's a modern gas hob on the top of the stove as the local WI were running a cookery demonstration during our visit. 



Note the original Camp coffee label - now changed so the Sikh solider is sitting next to the British officer and no longer waiting on him. How odd are those blue Kit-Kats?




The table laid for tea, 1940s style. Loving the vintage coat on the rack.



We were in two minds about renewing our National Trust membership following a member's vote which allowed trail hunting to continue on their lands but, as a number of people have pointed out, if all us antis revoked our membership then the pro-hunters would have free reign to do whatever they wish. So we shall continue being members and object, veto and complain at every opportunity.



On the subject of old houses bit of exciting news - there's now a SOLD sign outside The Cottage! Sadly the lovely lady's offer was too low but the couple who're buying it absolutely love all the original features, don't want to change a thing, have already sold their house and are renting locally. Can we have the sale done and dusted before India? Keep everything crossed!

Thanks for the birthday love, you lovely people! I'm looking forward to cracking open the birthday rum in a couple of hours time.

69 comments:

  1. Many happy birthday wishes to you.

    Great news about The Cottage, hope it all goes smoothly.

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    1. Thank you! I'm keeping everything crossed re:The Cottage, it's all a bit fast!

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  2. You’re right I have got a pinny like that one.
    Happy birthday lovely friend from us two. Looks like you’ve had a great week so far.
    Have you seen the kitchens in the new Mary Berry country houses ? They are fabulous, I wouldn’t want to maintain one but I’d love to spend a weekend in one.
    Great news on the house sale. I hope they let you see what they’ve done with it when they’ve moved in.
    Lots of love to the birthday girl x x x

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    1. I thought you had - you wear yours in a much cooler way, though!
      I haven't seen that Mary Berry programme, I'll have to watch it with the sound down, her voice grates on me! xxx

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  3. What great furnishings, really fantastic mirror over the fireplace in one of your pictures. What makes so people fascinated with dead birds and animals!?! Really gross

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    1. That mirror is gorgeous, isn't it?
      I do hate seeing all the taxidermy and animal skins in these grand houses, it was the norm with the posh people back then, no regard for any life but their own. Horrible. x

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  4. Glad you had a lovely day. I think those taxidermy birds are about the only thing I can remember!
    Arilx

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    1. Bit nasty, aren't they? We were at another NT property earlier this year with a stuffed robin and a family of wrens, I was appalled! xxx

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  5. Thanks for sharing this and have a fabulous Birthday x

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  6. We were renting when we bought our bungalow - went through very swiftly. Camp coffee, a teaspoon in the cup then hot water and milk. I liked it then but it would be too sweet now. However, it made lovely coffee cake using the recipe from the BeRo book!

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    1. I'm hoping this'll be speedy, be nice to get it sorted before India.
      We used Camp coffee in gateaux when I did patisserie at collage. I don't think I'd fancy it as a hot drink though! x

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  7. Love this post! I really liked how the kitchen was set (but I have a soft spot for all things original). Great news about The Cottage! Hopefully, everything will be squared away before your trip to India!

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    1. Thanks, Tracie! The kitchen was lovely, proper homely aftre all the grandeur above stairs! x

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  8. Stuffed exotic birds aside, this is looks like a great property to visit, so it will go on our list as, guess what, we'll be in Shropshire next June. Have already booked a cottage and all! Wouldn't mind that blue velvet gown, and I love the kitchen. I'm intrigued by the blue Kit-Kats! Last but not least: fantastic news about The Cottage! xxx P.S. I'm glad I was right about the dress, it looks fantastic on you!

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    1. No way!!! We're only a thirty minute drive away - I wonder if we'll be able to meet up? If not I've got a few hot tips for shopping! xxx

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    2. I'd love to! We'll be there from 17-29 June, and any day would suit us. Hot tips for shopping will of course be welcome too! xxx

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  9. You can keep all that glamour except the gilded frames and the knitted throw ,but please let me into that kitchen , It would be a dream to cook in xxx

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    1. I rather like the glamour, the house is only a few years older than ours. I did suggest Jon commissioned a boudoir for me but it fell on deaf ears! xxx

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  10. What a lovely day out. The place looks fabulous. I love all those copper moulds in the kitchen. It must have had a pretty impressive staff in its day. Really glad to hear that you have found a nice buyer for The Cottage. It is a beautiful house and deserves someone that will take care of it. Hoping that it is all done and dusted soon too and that you have had a spectacular birthday. Xx

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    1. It was a lovely trip, I'll definitely go back in the spring - the snowdrops are supposed to be amazing! xxx

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  11. Congratulations on the cottage, and I'm glad you are having an enjoyable birthday.
    The copper cookware and moulds in the kitchen are the stuff of a collector's dreams.

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    1. Thanks, Goody! Isn't it a great collection of moulds? I love the ones with lions on top. xxx

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  12. That was a great way to spend your birthday. In a beautiful house with all those period costumes dotted about.
    Fingers crossed you get the sale completed by the time you leave for your travels and congrats on the sale.
    Cheers to the birthday rum, hope you're having fun xxx

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    1. Thanks, Sally! Can't beat a bit of culture on your birthday - I've had far too many distinctly uncultured ones!! xxx

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  13. I have s strange version of England: crowded inner-city tower blocks and stately country manors. Maybe I should watch something else on Netflix besides period dramas and modern crime shows. Thanks for the tour.

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    1. Ha! That's pretty much an accurate description of the state of the UK at the moment! x

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  14. I'm glad that you renowed your membership! I have a selfish reason, because you will continue to share with us all those fabulous pictures of your excursions, those fabulous houses!. Obviously, it's also a good idea to keep the fight against trail hunting!
    I love all the furniture and the amazing ceilings. Those houses are full of amazing details!. And you look so lovely in your maxi and warm coat, lovely colors and lovely print!
    besos

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    1. Hooray! I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip out with me! Now's the perfect time to go, the places are empty as everyone's obsessed with Xmas shopping! xxx

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  15. Happy birthday and yey for the house sale!

    Lovely pics of Attingham, I've visited many times, I love the walled garden and the boudoir (I think I need one!)

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    1. Thanks, Susie!
      The walled garden was amazing - even in the depths of winter. I was disappointed not to spot the cat that lives there, though. We'll have to go back! x

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  16. Happy Bday!!!!!! You look incredible----what a great post!

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  17. That beehouse is amazing! I've never seen a beehouse nor a ha-ha wall. What an amazing collection of copper cookware. Congrats on the sale of the cottage & I'm glad you're having a great B-Day!

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    1. The beehouse is amazing, isn't it? That copper was pretty special. I've heard it's particularly sought after in the States! I should have pinched a bit for Goody! xxx

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  18. Birthday rum? How marvelous! Thank you for this tour of this lovely estate! I feel like I walked it with you. I'm in total lurve with your vintage 60s Santa coat!

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    1. I got three bottles in the end - how spoilt am I? I better restrain myself. xxx

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  19. thank you for the great trip! the house and interiors are very beautiful and i can´t believe how much is still there and pristine looking. well done for keeping the membership!
    glad the house sold well and wish you a fast procedure now so you can enjoy india even more!
    xxxx

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    1. It's in incredible shape. I love how grand it is. Imagine how many staff you'd need to keep it clean? xxx

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    2. ... remember the opening scene of "downton abbey"? this much staff, minimum! xx

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  20. Looks like you had a fabulous birthday.
    Here's to many more.
    Hugs-x-

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  21. Absolute wonderful tour.Viv..Reallly enjoyed it. Loved your skirt. We are melting away on 30 degrees. That's usually Feb Weather xx

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the tour! 30 degrees? It's 5 below here and we're in the middle of a snowstorm! x

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  22. Happy birthday and congratulations on the sale of the Cottage to someone who will treasure it!

    We let our National Trust membership lapse a couple of years ago, as we weren't getting a chance to make the most of it, but I'm still dismayed at their stance on hunting. You make a good point though, that those against hunting still need to be in a position to make their voices heard.

    I'm always fascinated by the kitchens and bathrooms in stately homes, as I've always been most interested in day-to-day life in the past, rather than reigns of monarchs and dates of battles, etc.

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    1. I do love our NT membership, it's ideal for us as we can go in the week when the places are often virtually empty. I was appalled by the result of the vote on hunting but I believe the fors and against were pretty close. we just need to recruit more antis and defeat the nasties. xxx

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  23. Thank you for the arm chair tour of Attingham, a beautiful estate. How wonderful are the original interiors and the bee house is something else.
    So pleased to hear The Cottage has sold to people that appreciate the period features, great that there's no chain.
    Hope you had a lovely day.Xx

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    1. Thanks, Fiona! It was a lovely trip out, I can understand why it's so popular. the grounds go on for miles with a deer park - bit chilly for all that on Wednesday, we'll have to go back! x

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  24. Attingham Park is gorgeous, thank you so much for showing us around. Historical houses/estates/ buildings always fascinate me!

    Loved all the pics....It seems you had a fun birthday week! Happy birthday!

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    1. Lovely to hear from you, Ivana! I love historical places, too! x

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  25. I'm debating cancelling my NT when its up for renewal , haven't been much this year

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    1. That's a shame. I think we'd got our money's worth in the first few weeks of membership. x

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  26. What a cracking house, I'm always drawn to the kitchens and that range is a stunner. The bee house looks like a little cricket pavilion.
    I can see something in the photo of you on the front steps. On the low wall to the left of the railings I can see a bloke who looks quite like Stalin - not sure what that says about my mind lol.
    I reckon you smuggled that patchwork in!
    Great news about The Cottage. xx

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    1. I wasn't sure if that was a man or a woman. Jon insisted I posed for a photo so he could investigate further - to no avail! xxx

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  27. What a wonderful house! Those centaurs on the bench were just so fabulous. I loved all the vintage clothing dotted around. I'm asking for NT membership for my birthday next year.

    You looked lovely in your war, coat and maxi.

    Have a great weekend!
    xxx

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    1. That should have said warm not war!!

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    2. Yay! Another NT member! There's loads of amazing places by you, you'll get your money's worth in the first month! xxx

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  28. What a place! Interesting to hear about John Nash's involvement, it's now a name I recognise since visiting Llanerchaeron a few months ago.

    Your outfit was so fabulous! And cosy looking. I too felt a bit conflicted after the hunting vote, but I think we'll renew too so that at least we have a say in things. Xx

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    1. Thank you! This coat certainly comes into it's own at this time of year!!
      I was excited to see something designed by John Nash, I've known his name since Sixth Form but I think that roof is the first things I've actual seen with my own eyes.
      Yes, we were debating about whether to renew our memberships but we antis need to challenge the old ways. Hopefully, in three years time, we'll win. xxx

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  29. Just lovely! I want one of those roundabout chair thingies so bad but I want a big one like at a hotel.

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    1. I loved those round velvet seats, they reminded me of something from Studio 54 - very flash and 1970s! xxx

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  30. Fun tour, as always! You learn so much during your excursions! And what a wonderful way to spend one's birthday, I know I am always up for a trip on mine!

    Sagittarius is a fun sign - at their best, optimistic, charming, life loving, goal-oriented, ever-young spirits, with loads of energy - which you are! I know quite a few of you Sagittariuses, my best friend is one, and did I tell you that you share a birthday with my first husband (Anya's father)?

    So glad that The Cottage will have such appreciative new residents! <3

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip. Lovely to have you join me!
      Fancy your ex-husband sharing a birthday with me. We are generally an easy-going, fun-loving lot. I'm often surprised at how many I know, we're obviously drawn to one-another. xxx

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  31. Congratulations on another happy birthday, and selling the cottage. It sounds as if the old house is in good hands -- and you will still be able to see it every day!

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  32. Wonderful, thank you! I enjoy these posts so much. Congrats on your sold sign, too!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoy my National trust visits. I want to go on more, things keep conspiring against us - like snow!!! xxx

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  33. Happy birthday! I'm sorry I missed saying so on the day. I think those bees have a posher house than I do.

    Camp is the essential ingredient in a really good coffee cake. Actual coffee doesn't give the same flavour.

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    1. Thanks, Mim! those bees are very spoilt, aren't they? I was dying to see the resident cat who lives in the greenhouse (a very posh one at that) but he didn't put in an appearance! x

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Love from Vix
xxx