Wednesday 4 September 2013

Wimpole Estate: The Hall - Part Two

The gardens at Wimpole Estate are really beautiful and Mum enjoyed taking lots of photos of flowers which can be seen here

Ryder and I enjoyed wandering round on our own while Mum was busy with her camera.

The more formal gardens in front and to the side of Wimpole Hall were pretty impressive as well.

They were designed by Capability Brown who was a famous garden designer who seems to have got around a lot going by all the gardens we have seen designed by him!

We would have loved to have played on the grass but there were signs everywhere that said 'Please Keep off the Grass'.

We thought this was a funny place to put the sign as there was just the ground and the tree!

We did manage some customary tree climbing which was fun.

Just look at this grand house!  Wouldn't it have been amazing to have lived here?

We work our way up the entrance steps...

Check out the sign...before making our way in.

This is the sitting room (or Ante room).

This table was great - it had been painted to show the various things that would have been found on it.

This is the drawing room where the ladies would sit and chat while the men would be left in the dining room to smoke their cigars and drink port!

The gallery was a place of entertainment and used to be divided into three smaller rooms.

Apparently children often put on plays written by Lady Hardwicke and later on when Queen Victoria came to visit a ball was held in here.

What are we looking at?

The painting above the fireplace.  To the left of the fireplace is a painting of Marchioness Jemina Grey.

We then made our way into the Book Room and Libray

These were amazing!  So many books and so high as well.

I wondered if there were any spell books amongst them...

There are about 10,000 books in here.  At one time there was a collection 50,000 books owned by Lord Harley and they were his pride and joy.  Unfortunately after he died most of the books were sold.

The library is quite dark in order to protect the books stored there.

Mrs Bambridge added two windows and bookcases were removed to make the room and as such the letters D and J are missing.  There is also no J as there was there was no J in the latin alphabet and it was this alphabet that Lord Harley used to label his bookcases.

How they go about cleaning the books.

The lighter and airier reading room.

Due to severe leaks after the snow of 2010 a lot of books were damaged and the restorers and conservationists are busy repairing the books in a room beside the library and reading room.

Oh hello, who are you?

Well now I am Mr Punch replies the strange little fellow holding the door open.

This is the yellow drawing room.  This room was built from four upstairs and three downstairs rooms for Philip Yorke, 3rd Earl of Hardwick.  The architect was Sir John Soane.  This architect wanted the room to be full of light so he designed windows in the top of the dome.

There were wonderful friezes of cherubs painted at each end of the room.

Underneath the dome were large cushions so you could lie back and look up at it.

For some entertainment...

The frieze at the other end of the room.

These next four pictures were quite amazing - they appeared to be 3-D effect.

Where they partook in morning or afternoon tea...all very civilised.

Wonderful dining room

Very impressive indeed!

Ryder and I make our way up the great staircase.  

We are not sure who this fellow is.

This was the Lord Chancellors room and because the ceilings are much lower upstairs than downstairs the legs and feathers on top had to be cut down so the bed could fit in!

Personally Ryder and I thought it looked more like a ladies bedroom!

This room right beside the Lord Chancellor's room used to be the dressing room.

The view from the window  - pretty impressive.

Mrs Bambridge's room.

The room in which this 18th century Chinese cabinet resides is the print room.  It used to be Mrs Bambridge's bathroom but now displays some of the pictures she and her husband collected.

The great Bath House was built in 1792 and holds 13,000 litres of water!  This is the equivalent to 130 normal size baths.  The water was heated by a boiler in the basement and filled up with hot and cold running water from the bottom.  It was used as a health spa rather than a bath to keep clean.  Wealthy people thought that taking a plunge in the water would cure them of their aches and pains.

The other contraption is a shower and water was pumped up through one of the legs to a tank at the top.  You then pulled a cord to let the water out.

Down the stone steps we ventured to the servants quarters.  These stair cases were used purely for the servants so that they couldn't be seen - as if the house worked by magic.  Part of the stone staircase was used by the family of the house to get to the bath house and this part has a wooden banister, but after that it luxury for the servants!

Downstairs were the bell pulls that would summon the servants to various rooms.

As the sign says...this way to the House Keeper's room.

The dry store (or pantry) was well stocked up.  Tea from China, coffee from Africa and sugar from the Caribbean were stored in here.

There was a sewing machine just like Mum's!  This machine actually dates from the early 1920s and is a Singer can read about Mum's machine here.

You can see the wonderful large linen press (cupboard) on the back wall and it was full of crisp white linens.

Ryder and I take sneaky sit down in the Housekeeper's chair while the others look around.

We try to imagine what it must have been like to have lived here all those years ago.

Continuing our walk down the stone paved corridor we come to....

As it says!

We go inside to investigate.

The Butler had many jobs.  He made sure that the silver was kept polished and put away in the safe, he was in charge of household accounts, brewing the servants beer and looking after the wine cellars.  

Do you know what these were used for?

We decided to pretend they were horses!

A couple of uniforms hanging up on the door.

The old fire tank and pump in case of emergencies.

Also down at basement level was the Chapel.

Prayers were said in here every day of the week except Sunday when the whole household went to church.  The servants would enter from below while the family set in the balcony above.

These paintings are called tromp l'oeil which is French for 'trick of the eye'.  It is to make them look like real gold statues which would have been much more expensive.

A lovely chapel indeed.

A room where various trunks are stored.

None other than Louis Vuitton cases.

These travel cases must have been to some interesting places.

This room would have been one of the servants rooms.  Much less opulent than upstairs!

What's this?

Eowehh yuck!  A potty!  We quickly vacate from that room....

On our way out we admire the embroidered bedspread that covered another of the servants beds.

We had a great time and it was fascinating to see how they used to live, both upstairs and downstairs.


  1. What adventures you boys have met with! Lorraine, I love to see all your brilliant photos, the dolls added make them even more special;they behaved so well. Or did they pull the servants bells only once? It must have been great fun to visit there. I bet you loved to watch Upstairs Downstairs too! And what a lovely bedspread with embroidered flowers! Thank you for sharing these, Fanny

  2. What a great time the boys had at Wimpole Hall, it's a super place to visit!
    I think Tyler is going to have soooo much to tell his mum when he goes home, she's going to wish she'd been able to visit with him!

  3. What a wonderful time you two boys must have had - and you must keep pretty fit to get round such an enormous mansion and those amazing gardens. Congratulations on being so well behaved. Jude

  4. Fantastic job Lorraine--so interesting. I love that trompe l'oeil table with the playing cards!

    I too loved the embroidered bedspread, it must have made the room so bright and cheery for the servant.

  5. I reckon, 'Those were the days!'
    Certainly a good insight to how the other half lived, though glad that I'm not having to keep them clean and dusted.

  6. it is so much fun to imagine life in a huge manor house like that. It's wonderful that it is so well cared for and available to visitors.