BRITAIN THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE
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WESTMINSTER P ALACE
UAL FACTS TEN UNUS T THE ABOU PLE ROYAL COU
Inside the Houses of Parliament
RAISE THE ROOF
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Holiday in Britain’s finest thatched cottages
MAGNIFICENT MILLINERY A British love affair with hats
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12 FAVOURITE ENGLISH COUNTRY GARDENS
Buckinghamshire Rolling hills and stately homes in the small county with a big heart
LET THE WONDERS OF GREAT BRITAIN UNFOLD BEFORE YOU...
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RELIVE THE ERA OF LUXURY TRAIN TRAVEL
...aboard The Royal Scotsman. Plunge into the magic of the Highlands aboard the luxurious, intimate Royal Scotsman train, stopping to explore sites of historic battles, play golf on worldrenowned courses or meet the Laird of an ancient castle.
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We explore the beautiful Cotswolds
PHOTOS: ©ALAMY/DAVE PORTER/ISTOCK/VIEW FROM THE SHARD
Spring has sprung and with it the good news continues to flow. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby is due in June, but did you know that following a change in the rights of succession, the child will be third in line to the throne whether it’s a boy or a girl? Read more about the royal couple in our Ten Things feature on page 98. William and Catherine have also announced that they’re looking for a Royal Housekeeper for their London home. The job description might read like something from a Downton Abbey script, but given the huge number of stately homes in Britain (many of which employ a housekeeper) there shouldn’t be a shortage of qualified applicants. In this issue we take a peek inside some of the country’s finest country houses with Inside Britain’s Edwardian Houses (page 58). We also venture behind the impressive doors of the Palace of Westminster – perhaps better known as the Houses of Parliament. Join us as we tour its grand corridors and historic chambers in The People’s Palace on page 14. Finally, we think you'll enjoy our English Country Garden feature on page six – we’ve selected some of our favourite ones for each season – let us know if you agree.
BRITAIN THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE
VOLUME 81 ISSUE 2
ENGLISH COUNTRY GARDEN We pick the best gardens across the country to visit throughout the year, featuring seasonal displays to delight every enthusiast.
THE PEOPLE'S PALACE We take a tour around Westminster Palace, better known as the Houses of Parliament, and discover the secrets of this great landmark.
THE HOME COUNTY The most wooded part of Britain, famed for its bluebells, country houses and inspiring landscapes, Buckinghamshire is not merely a county of commuters.
Cover image: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in spring. © A. G. Holesch/ imagebroker/Corbis Like us on Facebook
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HEART OF THE COTSWOLDS In the second of our new series, Wonderful Weekends, we explore the countryside, history and heritage of the Cotswolds.
RAISE THE ROOF We find the best thatched cottages, from Suffolk to Somerset, for a perfect quintessentially English getaway. BRITAIN 3
the official magazine
britain’S Edwardian HouSES
The Gilded Age produced a huge number of spectacular country houses – we look inside some of the finest.
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HatS oF HiStory The British love of hats has resulted in flat caps and fascinators – we trace the history of our country through its headwear.
Editor sam Pears Deputy Editor Jessica tooze
capitaL outing Join us on a journey out of the capital and just one hour from London where you can see the world's longest pier or the site where the Magna Carta was signed.
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tHE brit LiSt The essential round-up of what to see and do, where to go and what to buy during your travels around Britain.
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tEn tHingS you didn't know... We uncover some fascinating facts about The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
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EnGlish country GardEn From tulips to snowdrops, there is a garden for every season and you will find much to inspire at our selection of must-visits through the year WORDS Caroline Wheater
ow many kinds of sweet flowers grow in an English country garden?’ asks the classic folk tune. The English pride in their gardens is famed the world over and the country is dotted with growing delights of all kinds, tended by the passionate and green-fingered in the topiaried formality of stately homes, the tumbling colour of cottage gardens and the stark modernity of urban rooftops. In fact, there are so many types of garden open to visitors that it can be hard to know where to start. From the first building to be acquired by the National Trust, the rare 14th-century Alfriston Clergy House (pictured left), which is surrounded by a delightful, tranquil cottage garden, to the contemporary interlocking arcs of Sussex Prairies that were started in 2008 from a field, there’s an endless array to choose from. So we’ve done the hard work for you and selected gardens across the country that come into their own with the changing seasons. britain
A medieval gem in the Weald of Kent, Penshurst Place has been home to the Sidney family since 1552 – its 11-acre walled garden was laid out in 1580
Above: A view of Penshurst Place and Gardens near Tonbridge in Kent. Right: Aerial view of Glendurgan maze, Cornwall
photoS: © ViSitBritain/rod EdwardS/richard cookE alaMy
(March – May) We begin our seasonal journey with all the joys of spring when the first buds of colour burst through the frosty soil. Few places present this season better than romantic Pashley Manor, which is hidden away in a secluded East Sussex valley and tended by owners James and Angela Sellick. A festival of tulips heralds the 11-acre garden’s opening and towards the end of April more than 20,000 bulbs of 102 varieties, under-planted with scented wallflowers, burst into bloom. Stars this spring include the lily flowered tulip Purple Dream in pots around the swimming pool, and pink and white Huis Ten Bosch teamed with pink forget-me-nots along the pear tree walk. With luck, the fruit trees in the walled garden will be in blossom too, along with the ancient purple wisteria wrapped around the 1550s manor. An exhibition of garden sculpture adds more interest, as does an excellent café by the lake. “I want everyone to leave feeling they’ve been as near to paradise as possible,” remarks James Sellick.
The Rothschild banking dynasty never do anything by halves as Exbury Gardens in Hampshire illustrates. In the New Forest, on the banks of the Beaulieu River, the 200-acre woodland garden is home to a world-renowned collection of rhododendrons and azaleas begun in the 1920s by Lionel de Rothschild, and now looked after by his grandsons. Experience an explosion of colour from late April when the Azalea Bowl is a riot of pink and mauve evergreen Japanese azaleas, and the woodland is a carpet of bluebells. By May a colossal collection of 10,000 rhododendrons daubs the garden with rainbow hues. A miniature steam railway, The Rhododendron Line, departs regularly for a 20-minute chug around the garden. From 1820, generations of the Fox family created Glendurgan – a magical ravine garden that tumbles down to the Helford River, near the coastal town of Falmouth in Cornwall. The dramatic, 30-acre site benefits from a mild, wet climate that allows sub-tropical plants such as tree ferns, gunnera and agaves to thrive. Glendurgan is especially beautiful in spring. From mid-February around 30 varieties of camellia come into www.britain-magazine.com
bloom, followed in March by magnolias, and in April by rhododendrons. “Glendurgan is at its peak in early May, when bluebells, aquilegias and wildflower banks are all in flower,” says assistant head gardener, Ben Tufnell. The giant tree ferns start to unfurl their new fronds too; some are over 150 years old, having arrived in Falmouth as ship’s ballast before being discarded on the quayside.
Clockwise from main: Exbury Gardens , Lionel de Rothschild rhododendrons and azaleas reserve; lavender and roses flank Penshurst's walls; romantic garden gate at Penshurst Place
photos: © michAel WAld/AlAmy/ visitbritAin/dAvid sellmAn
(June – August)
On the edge of Devon’s moody Dartmoor, The Garden House boasts rich hues and views to sigh for. “The beauty of this place is that there’s something different to see every day,” says the garden’s administrator, Rachel Young. Established in the 1940s by retired Eton schoolteacher, Lionel Fortescue, and developed by a succession of head gardeners, the eight-acre garden is a place to linger. The cottage garden overlooks the village of Buckland Monachorum and from April to October is a haze of flowers. By midsummer it is awash with colour, from lipstick pink lychnis coronaria to cheery corn marigolds and blue flax. Beyond is a wildflower meadow, speckled with orchids, buttercups and geraniums. The herbaceous borders of the walled garden are an August hotspot. At the great Jacobean house Audley End parkland melts into the surrounding Essex countryside – the borrowed landscape – thanks to the late 18th-century design of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. In summer two features stand out. The first is the restored 1830s parterre, a formal flower garden filled with peonies and shrub roses such as fragrant ‘Ispahan’, followed by cosmos, pelargonium and scented heliotrope that bloom until the first frosts. The walled kitchen garden is organic and bursting with heritage varieties; its four ‘quarters’ are divided by espaliered fruit trees – 120 types of apple and 40 types of pear. Within the beds grow everything from fennel to pumpkins while grape vines drape the restored vinery. A medieval gem in the Weald of Kent, Penshurst Place has been home to the Sidney family since 1552. The 11-acre walled garden was laid out in 1580 and is divided into rooms by tall yew hedges. There is an apple and pear orchard, a nut plait, a formal rose garden, and a Union flag garden that can be seen on the descent to Gatwick airport. By early June the peony border is in full bloom with 100 metres of luscious flowers. George Carter redesigned the double herbaceous borders in contemporary style for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. The Jubilee Walk is set to inspire for years to come with its bays of graduating colour, from red, orange and yellow to pink, lavender and blue, interspersed with evergreens and heritage apple trees.
(september – november) Near an iconic English landscape of the South Downs, Sussex Prairies in the village of Henfield, West Sussex dares to be different. The six-acre naturalistic garden created by Paul and Pauline McBride in 2008 has had rave reviews for its prairie planting inspired by the Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. www.britain-magazine.com
Gardens Based on a spiralling shell shape, the border design contains some 30,000 plants of 600 varieties. Drifting across the land are ribbons of colourful perennials – echinacea, verbena bonariensis, asters in early autumn. “We use grasses to add architectural splendour,” explains Pauline. You can can book onto a garden tour, take plant souvenirs home from the nursery, or go one step further and stay the night at the McBrides’ B&B, with unlimited access to the garden. “Autumn at Batsford is like an explosion of fireworks!” recounts Matthew Hall, head gardener of the Cotswold arboretum, home to 2,888 trees at the last count. The 56-acre collection was started in the late 19th century by Algernon Mitford, grandfather of the famous Mitford Girls, and is now a charitable foundation. “Our liquidambars are the first to colour up in September and the last to drop their leaves,” says Matthew. Pungent scents waft through the air too – the toffee apple fragrance of Katsura trees, and the rose perfume of a clerodendrum shrub. The last two weeks of October is when the show is at its finest, with maples in fiery colours, and the national collection of Japanese flowering cherry trees sporting brilliant hues. Magnificent mature oaks and beech trees clothed in gold and russet add gravitas. With glorious views over Lake Windermere towards the Langdale Pikes, Holehird Gardens in the Lake District is the home of the Lakeland Horticultural Society, and gardened entirely by volunteers. All the plants, shrubs and trees grown here suit the local conditions of thin soil, plenteous rainfall and mild winters. In autumn the light glances over the 17-acre garden and fells beyond, bringing a golden glow to maples and azaleas, and berried shrubs such as cotoneasters – a winter larder for the birds. The national collection of hydrangeas is a treat, with 300 species and cultivars, in all shades of white, blue, mauve and pink that flower from July to October.
MiDWintEr EnCHantMEnt (December – February)
At RHS Wisley, the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship garden in Surrey, the winter months have an ethereal, contemplative quality. On a frosty day head to Seven Acres to see willow and dogwood stems reflected in the lake, and duck and rabbit footprints criss-crossing the frosty lawns. At the Glasshouse Borders, a Piet Oudolf design of perennials and grasses is a mass of seedpods and seed heads intact until March, when they are cut back. Far from being flowerless in winter, on New Year’s Day Wisley will have more than 250 plants in bloom, ranging from heathers and hellebores to early flowering camellias. Deliciously scented viburnums, mahonias, witchhazels, shrubby honeysuckles and daphnes lift the spirits too. Steeped in 400 years of history, and with the River Witham flowing through the estate, Easton Walled Gardens in Lincolnshire is a restoration success story. In 2001, having been abandoned for 50 years, the 12-acre garden was so overgrown it was impenetrable. Enter Lady Ursula Cholmeley and a host of volunteers who spent 18 months clearing it for a full-scale revival that now includes rose meadows, a white garden, and a ‘pickery’ for cut flowers. www.britain-magazine.com
Above: RHS Wisley's glasshouse on a frosty winter's day
Easton’s year starts with Snowdrop Week in mid February. “As the harsh winter gives way to spring, a picturesque white carpet rolls out across the gardens, with thousands of delicate snowdrops emerging from the thawing earth,” says Lady Cholmeley. Expert plantswoman Jackie Murray holds talks throughout the week and shows off rare and unusual varieties such as galanthus ‘Mighty Atom’ and ‘Wendy’s Gold’. Close to the university city of Cambridge, Anglesey Abbey’s 114-acre landscape garden was developed by Lord Fairhaven and is now run by the National Trust. “The garden is at its most exciting during winter,” says head gardener Richard Todd. “There’s a long period of interest created by stem and leaf colour, bark texture, and fragrant flowering shrubs.” Along with a five-week snowdrop festival from the last week of January, there is a dedicated winter garden to wander through. A path runs through the middle of the garden and to each side are stands of dogwood – scarlet ‘Westonbirt’ and orange ‘Midwinter Fire’ – planted next to colourful willows, winter flowering cherry trees, contorted hazel, viburnum and witch hazel. The finale is a ghostly grove of silver birch. A Winter Lights Festival during December invites visitors to enjoy the garden at night, and to warm up afterwards with mulled wine and a hog roast.
VISIT THE GARDENS alfriston Clergy House (www.nationaltrust. org.uk/alfriston-clergy-house) open 23 Feb to 22 dec, check website for details. PasHley Manor (www. pashleymanorgardens.com) open 30 Mar to 28 Sept, on tues-thurs and Sat, 11am to 5pm. exbury gardens (www.exbury.co.uk) open 9 Mar to 3 Nov, 10am to 5pm. glendurgan (www.nationaltrust.org. uk) open 11 Feb to 13 Nov, 10.30am to 5.30pm. tHe garden House (www. thegardenhouse.org.uk) open daily from 1 Mar to 3 Nov. audley end gardens (www.english-heritage.org.uk) open all year.
PensHurst PlaCe (www.penshurstplace.com) open daily from 29 Mar to 3 Nov, 10.30am to 6pm. sussex Prairies (www. sussexprairies.co.uk) open 1 Jun to 13 oct, 1-5pm. batsford arboretuM (www.batsarb. co.uk) open daily. HoleHird gardens (www. holehirdgardens.org.uk), open daily, entry free. rHs Wisley (www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/ wisley) open daily. easton Walled gardens (www. eastonwalledgardens.co.uk) open 16-24 Feb for Snowdrop Week, then 3 Mar to end oct, 11am to 4pm. anglesey abbey (www.nationaltrust. org.uk/anglesey-abbey) open daily.
VISITOR INFORMATION Owners:
Ian & Barbara Pollard
Market Cross Malmesbury Wiltshire SN16 9AS
Tel: 01666 822212 or 01666 827650 E-mail: info@ abbeyhousegardens.co.uk
The Abbey House Gardens abbeyhousegardens.co.uk With 1300 years of history, an English King, 2 Saints and now one of the Great Gardens of the World. For the perfect day out come and see our enchanting gardens or are you looking for the perfect destination for your wedding at the gateway to the Cotswolds? Probably the best garden visit you could ever make awaits you at Abbey House Gardens in ancient Malmesbury, itself an historic place to visit. Gardening ideas, beautiful plants from daffodils, crocus, tulips (24,000 new tulip bulbs planted each year) and iris in spring through the country’s largest private collection of roses, double herbaceous borders that rival Monets, to fabulous autumn colour from specimen trees and shrubs; all to be enjoyed in a special atmosphere - you have to visit to believe. Come and judge for yourself. Find
us nestled besides historic Malmesbury Abbey in this lovely Wiltshire Cotswold location just 5 miles from M4
J17. Park easily in the long stay car park to stay all day with refreshment available in the tearoom.
March 21–October 31 11am–5.30pm daily
Adults - £8 Concessions £7 Family (2+2) - £18 Children 5–15 - £3
Clothes Optional Days one day per month. See abbeyhousegardens.co.uk for details.
A World Heritage Site on the Middlesex bank of the River Thames, Westminster Palace is a unique building with a rich history and a very special function. We explore the chambers of this magnificent landmark
PHoTo: ÂŠ IAn SHAW/AlAMy
WORDS SaM PEarS
The Palace of Westminster, known as the Houses of Parliament, is open to all members of the UK public and overseas visitors
Houses British Of Parliament rtylr
photos: courtesy of houses of parliament 2012/alamy/robert harding picture library
Above: The Queen's Robing Room is richly decorated with royal symbols and motifs. Facing page: Portraits hang in the Royal Gallery against a backdrop of gilded and painted decoration
he Palace of Westminster: a Gothic jewel on the Thames that is the home of British democracy. One of London’s most iconic buildings, with its elaborately carved sandy-coloured façade and famous clock tower, it’s perhaps better known as the Houses of Parliament. Millions have admired its architecture from viewpoints both north and south of the river. But imagine exploring its interior: rooms that echo with the history of centuries of British rule and chambers in which politicians debate decisions that can alter the direction of the nation. The building dates back to the reign of King Canute, who constructed a royal residence here in 1016, but a tour begins in Westminster Hall, built in 1097. The Hall is a minor miracle, having survived both the Great Fire of 1834, which destroyed most of the Houses of Parliament, and heavy bombing during World War II. Its proportions are immense and its striking hammer-beam timber roof is the largest medieval unsupported roof in northern Europe. Westminster Hall was used as a law court from the 13th century until 1882. Trials held here include that of William Wallace (1305), leader of the Scottish resistance against English oppression, and Guy Fawkes, who was found guilty of treason and executed in 1606 for attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Members of the Royal Family lie in state here, most recently The Queen Mother in 2002. But the Hall also welcomes the living: world leaders including
HM The Queen, Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi have delivered speeches here. Although the Hall is the oldest part of the Palace, certain elements were added later, and Richard II remodelled its walls in the 14th century. Seek out a small square excavated in the wall near the ceiling; it reveals the original stonework nestled within the newer structure. Take time, too, to admire the old stonework nearby in what was once the stable block but is now the Jubilee café. Along with Westminster Hall, only a section of St Stephen’s Chapel and the Jewel Tower survived the Great Fire of 1834. In 1841, politicians held a competition to find an architect to rebuild the Palace, with entrants instructed to submit their designs using a symbol instead of their name. The winner was Charles Barry, assisted by 20-year-old Augustus Pugin – the leading authority on Gothic architecture and style. Your tour of Westminster Palace now follows in the footsteps of HM The Queen on the day of the State
Until 60 years ago the House of Lords consisted of all-male and all-hereditary members, but now only 92 are hereditary and 181 are women
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Opening of Parliament. The Queen has her own entrance, Sovereign’s Entrance, from where she climbs the stairs to the Norman Porch and enters the Queen’s Robing Room; it is here that the vision of Barry and Pugin comes to life. The painted wooden ceiling is decorated with motifs of royalty and Parliament in rich golds, reds and blues. It is a remarkable room, filled with symbolism, of which the most recognisable is the Portcullis – the symbol Barry used on his entry, which is now the logo of the Houses of Parliament. We trace The Queen’s steps from the Robing Room into the 33.5m-long Royal Gallery, dominated by two imposing frescoes depicting British victories in the Napoleonic Wars: the battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo. Yet here is a reminder that we are in the 21st century and a working environment – the room houses a collection of TV screens (red for the House of Lords and green for the House of Commons); these are the annunciators, which inform members what is being debated. From the Royal Gallery, the tour takes you to the Prince’s Chamber, a smaller but no less impressive room, framed with images of Henry VIII and his six wives. Linger here and take time to enjoy the recent addition of paintings depicting the Spanish Armada, before heading to the showpiece of the tour, the incredible Lords Chamber. Everyone who enters the Lords Chamber lets out a gasp of amazement. Completed in 1847, it is the most ornate room in the Palace of Westminster. Designed by Pugin, it is festooned with complex wooden carvings and rich red leather, all lit by cathedral-sized stained-glass windows, which cast a rainbow of colours over the gold-leaf decoration. Surrounding this chamber is the public gallery where anyone can sit to watch a debate. The only simple element of this room is the square wool-stuffed cushion at its centre. This is the Woolsack, where the Lord Speaker sits – a tradition dating back to the 14th century to emphasise the economic importance of the wool trade at the time. Behind the Woolsack is Black Rod’s Mace. The Mace represents the monarch. A formal procession is performed each day, with Black Rod leading the Members into the Chamber and placing the Mace in the House of Lords. Next door, in the House of Commons, the Serjeant at Arms carries out the same role. Yet despite this rich history, times do change. Until 60 years ago the House of Lords consisted of all-male and all-hereditary members, but this is no longer the case. Of the 830 members today, only 92 are hereditary and 181 are women. Here our path breaks away from that of The Queen, for no monarch since Charles I has entered the House of Commons. Separating the House of Lords from the House of Commons are the Peers Lobby and Peers Corridor, which lead into the octagonal Central Lobby. Here, carved stone statues of monarchs line each of the eight arches,
MPs used to touch the statue of Winston Churchill for good luck in their work and that of Lloyd George for luck if they were going on a date
PHOTOS: COurTeSY Of HOuSeS Of PArLIAMenT 2012
Houses Of Parliament
BRITAIN MeeTs... The seRjeANT AT ARMs
awrence Ward took on the historic 600-year-old role of Serjeant at Arms in May 2012 just two weeks before the State Opening of Parliament. “Yes, it was only my second week and I was terrified," he laughs. "I was so intent on getting it right that I can’t remember much about it. I make a conscious effort to enjoy everything I do in this job, as I don’t know how long I will have the privilege, but from that day I remember very little." Lawrence’s ceremonial duties involve carrying the House of Commons Mace during the Speaker's procession when the Speaker and his staff walk to the House of Commons chamber before each sitting. The Serjeant is responsible for security but the role calls for a very special ceremonial outfit, which dates back to Georgian court dress. It includes buckle shoes, an elaborate tailcoat, a sword and a wig bag which attaches to the back of his coat. “When I first got the job, I received three different explanations as to its
purpose," says Lawrence. One idea is that in Georgian times people used to wear wigs with long pigtails that would flap about, so they would tuck the pigtails inside the bag. Another suggests it was a holder for lice powder to treat the wigs of the day and a third is that the Serjeants would offer seats depending on how many coins the person they escorted in slipped into the wig pouch. The uniform may be archaic, but it serves a purpose and Lawrence wears it with pride.
photos: courtesy of houses of parliamnt 2012
Houses Of Parliament
and the stone-vaulted roof is believed to be the widest in existence at 18m, and a staggering 23m high. Any UK resident can come here and ask to see their MP – a process known as lobbying or, more informally, ‘green carding’. The appearance of the Palace of Westminster changes as you enter Commons Corridor and Members Lobby – these rooms are far less ornate. Much of this section was badly damaged during bombing in 1941, but the reconstruction was so sympathetic to Barry’s original design that it’s hard to distinguish between old and new. Look closely at the arch next to the statue of Winston Churchill in the Members Lobby and you’ll see an original section, battered by The Blitz. Notice too the worn area on the door to the Commons Chamber, where Black Rod knocks three times (for God, Queen and country) during the State Opening of Parliament. The walls of Members Lobby are lined with statues and busts of prime ministers past, and it’s said MPs used to touch the statue of Winston Churchill for good luck in their work and that of Lloyd George if they were going on a date. The rule was that prime ministers had to have been dead for 10 years before they could be commemorated with a statue. This was broken for Margaret Thatcher in 2007.
The tour moves into St Stephen’s Hall – the original site of the House of Commons from the mid 16th century until the Great Fire of 1834
Giles Gilbert Scott was commissioned to rebuild Commons Chamber in the aftermath of World War II. Scott Junior is perhaps most famous for designing the iconic red telephone box, as well as Battersea and Bankside (now Tate Modern) power stations. His understated use of carved wood teamed with green leather in the House of Commons appears spartan in comparison with the opulent Lords Chamber. From the clean lines of Commons Chamber, the tour moves into St Stephen’s Hall – the original site of the House of Commons from the mid 16th century until the Great Fire of 1834. The statues of parliamentary orators that line the Hall are a reminder of its earlier usage. Look out for a damaged spur on the back of one statue’s boot; this was snapped off by a suffragette during a scuffle and has been left broken as a reminder of women’s fight for the vote. Now back in Westminster Hall, our guide Mark Cullen tells us the tale of King George IV’s coronation banquet. As part of the ceremony, the King’s Champion rode in on a prize stallion. Since it was considered bad mannered for the horse to show its rear to the king, a circus horse, trained to walk backwards, was used. Unfortunately, this particular horse would only walk backwards, much to the horror of king and court. Mark's closing story is as memorable as the tour itself and, now back where we started, our exhilarating tour comes to an end.
Above: St Stephen's Hall retains the layout and many qualities of the chapel that used to occupy this site. Previous page, from top: Lords Chamber, completed in 1847; the name Big Ben is often used to describe the tower, the clock and the bell but the name was actually first given to the Great Bell; Lawrence Ward, Serjeant at Arms
Tours of the Houses of Parliament take place on most Saturdays throughout the year, and five days a week during the Summer Opening period. Tours last 75 minutes. For further information, visit www.parliament.uk/visiting or follow @visitparliament on Twitter. www.britain-magazine.com
Park House is an independent small luxury country house hotel and spa located in the heart of South East England in the county of West Sussex. It is an hour and a half from Central London and the Eurostar train to Europe, just over an hour from Gatwick, Heathrow & Southampton international airports and forty minutes from Portsmouth Harbour and ferries to France. Offering twenty one luxury en-suite bedrooms, superb indoor and outdoor leisure facilities and a stunning new spa, the hotel has a home-from-home atmosphere. Park House Bepton Midhurst West Sussex United Kingdom GU29 0JB
T +44 (0)1730 819000 F +44 (0)1730 819099 E email@example.com W www.parkhousehotel.com HOTEL - S PA - B USINESS - WEDDINGS
the What to do ● Where to go ● What to buy
We round up our favourite upcoming exhibitions, theatre, concerts and attractions, as well as places to stay and best british buys
britten on the beach In this, the centenary year of England’s greatest composer Benjamin Britten, his home town of Aldeburgh is celebrating with a fabulous festival. Britten’s most famous opera, Peter Grimes, arrives with concert performances and an outdoor production on Aldeburgh beach. we've teamed up with aldeburgh festival to offer three pairs of tickets worth £100 to the performance on aldeburgh beach. enter online at www.britainmagazine.com/britaincomp
top of the tower Whizz up to the 72nd floor of Western Europe’s tallest building for a knee-trembling but incredible perspective of London with The View from the Shard – now open to the public. tickets to london's newest landmark cost £24.95 at www.theviewfromtheshard.com
THE WHaT To do ● WHErE To go ● WHaT To buy
PHoTo (FaCINg): © THE VIEW From THE SHard
We have just discovered amelia rope's delicious luxury chocolate, and now we're obsessed. The beautifullywrapped chocolate is made by hand, with flavours such as rose or lime hand-stirred in, some with nuts or coffee beans scattered on top. amelia is uncompromising when it comes to the sustainable and ethical sourcing of the chocolate and she uses uK-based sources wherever possible for the packaging. It is all dairy, gluten and alcohol free and available to buy online at www.ameliarope.com. Enjoy!
James McAvoy takes on Macbeth Shakespeare’s darkest tale plays out in a dystopian Scotland brutalised by war This exciting and radical new production is played in the round in the newly configured Trafalgar Studios in Whitehall. Scottish BAFTA winner and Olivier nominee James McAvoy stars alongside Claire Foy’s Lady Macbeth in the bard’s politicallycharged and atmospheric play until 27 April. 0844 871 7632; www.macbethwestend.com
shugborough is Much More thAn A stAtely hoMe Shugborough near Stafford is featuring new exhibitions and a new-look historic walled gardens this year, as well as events from open-air concerts to festivals and country shows. Shugborough is the nation’s most complete working historic estate and offers a fun-packed family day out. www.shugborough.org.uk
scents of the city
Hainsworth, one of Britain’s most historic textile mills, has unveiled its wonderfully comforting 2013 Scarlet & Argent collection.
Fill a room with the gentle fragrance of the Covent garden flower market or the spicy notes of an exclusive gentlemen's club with Tales of London candles from ashleigh & burwood. There are six fragrances to choose from including buckingham, Knightsbridge and Piccadilly. all of the candles are hand-poured in the uK and guaranteed to burn for 50 hours. www.ashleigh-burwood.co.uk
PLaCES To STay – EdITor'S PICKS If you're inspired by our features this issue and fancy visiting an area we mention, we have a couple of top recommendations from the brITaIN team. For those exploring the Cotswolds after reading our Wonderful Weekends feature, the Cotswold Water Park Four www.britain-magazine.com
Pillars Hotel is a contemporary luxury Cotswolds venue set in a wonderland of lakes, woodland and open countryside. The four-star hotel blends contemporary design with nature, capturing the scenic
landscape through expanses of glass. www.four-pillars.co.uk and for a place to stay just an hour's drive from London, The Wellington arms in baughurst is a superb find and the perfect place to escape to
from the hubbub of the city. on the edge of the Hampshire downs, The Wellington offers a welcoming haven for locals and Londoners alike. It focuses on food, and its small restaurant is packed full of
foodie fans every night of the week. after a delicious dinner you can stay in one of The Wellington’s two lovely bedrooms, converted in 2011 from what was once a derelict hay store. www.thewellingtonarms.com britAin
A walk through time
Celebrating a century of designs from W. Moorcroft Limited SPECIAL OFFER Moorcroft Chairman, Hugh Edwards, alias Fraser Street, is currently writing a sequel to his third book on Moorcroft Pottery, ‘A New Dawn’. If you purchase any of the designs featured on this page through the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre you will receive ‘A New Dawn’ book, worth £48 with your purchase, signed by the author himself. This offer expires on the 25th January 2013. Limited Editions are subject to availability. Please quote ref: BritainMagazine offer.
www.moorcroft.com Tel: +44 (0)1782 8205515
Visit the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre and Museum in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent and receive a FREE FACTORY TOUR by quoting ‘Britain Visits Centenary Year’.
THE WHAT TO DO ● WHERE TO GO ● WHAT TO BUY
DUCHESS PORTRAIT The Duchess of Cambridge’s first official portrait, by artist Paul Emsley, is now on display at the National Portrait Gallery. We posted the painting on the BRITAIN facebook page when it was released, and it sparked quite a debate amongst you all. Many of you think that the painting is unflattering and ages her, and that Prince William was being generous to the artist in describing the portrait as "just beautiful". Visit the painting for yourselves at the National Portrait Gallery and tell us what you think. www.facebook.com/BritainMagazine
Castle's first new building in 150 years Lincoln is busy renovating in time for 800th anniversary in 2015 PHOTOS: © V&A IMAGES
The first phase of a £20m-plus restoration project in the cathedral city of Lincoln – which will see major changes in and around one of Britain’s finest Norman castles – has been completed. The construction of the innovative Heritage Skills Centre is the first new building within the castle in over a century-and-a-half. www.lincolncathedral.com
CENTURY OF THE AA There were 1,375 hotels listed in the 1913 AA Handbook. The latest has over 3,500 – from budget hotels to elegant country houses. Purchase your copy at www.britainmagazine.com/shop
Bowie exhibition at V&A Museum Fans can immerse themselves in David Bowie's shifting style and sustained reinvention The V&A has been given unprecedented access to the David Bowie archive to curate the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of the artist. Entitled David Bowie is, it will feature more than 300 objects that include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs and Bowie's own instruments. There's also the chance to see more than 300 objects including Ziggy Stardust bodysuits (1972), album sleeve artwork, and visual excerpts from his films and live performances. www.vam.ac.uk
THE WHAT TO DO ● WHERE TO GO ● WHAT TO BUY
DIVINE INSPIRATION A new exhibition at Handel House Museum in Mayfair plans to throw light on the man responsible for inspiring one of the acknowledged greatest pieces of music of all time. The exhibition will explore the life, work and character of Charles Jennens, who supplied the words for many of Handel’s finest works and whose years of collaboration with the great composer led to the creation of his most famous work, Messiah. Charles Jennens: The Man Behind Messiah runs at Handel House until 14 April. 020 7495 1685; www.handelhouse.org
London's gardens at your fingertips Learn more about London's wonderful and historic green spaces
UNDER THE SEA The world's largest aquarium brand, SEA LIFE, has announced that its next exciting attraction will be opening this June at Manchester's Trafford Centre. The aquarium will contain more than 1 million litres of water and feature over 5,000 amazing sea creatures, 30 spectacular marine displays, and an incredible underwater ocean tunnel. Tickets are available now. www.visitsealife.com
PHOTOS: LILY HARTLEY
London Gardens Online was launched in May 2012 and is the brainchild of the London Parks & Gardens Trust – who, 15 years ago, decided to start the mammoth task of creating an inventory of the capital’s parks, gardens, squares, churchyards, cemeteries and other sites of historic interest. It now includes more than 2,500 site entries across London. www.londongardensonline.org.uk
HANDS-ON DISCOVERY The Corinium Museum has launched the first app in a series entitled Romans, highlighting key Roman sites and objects discovered in Cirencester. www.coriniummuseum. cotswold.gov.uk
VISIT YORK'S MUSEUMS Two new exhibitions open have opened at the Yorkshire Museum. Capital of the North tells of the medieval kingdoms of Britain, when the north was ruled from the city. Anglian kings were baptised in its churches,
Viking warriors plotted their southern raids and the Normans cruelly stamped their authority on the masses. It also covers York's golden age of innovation, religion and trade that flourished after the ravages of
war were at an end. The exhibition features some of the most prestigious and significant medieval objects ever found in Britain and
explores the lives of some of the most powerful people of the period. www. yorkshiremuseum.org.uk At York Castle Museum's Toy Stories, you can take a trip back to your childhood and rediscover some of your favourite
playthings. Bikes, sewing machines, Lego and beautiful hand-made trains and dolls are among the toys on show from the last 150 years, so you can share your childhood memories with family and friends. www. yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk
If calling Britain from overseas, dial your international code, then 44, and drop the first zero ●
THE SMARTER WAY TO TRAVEL TO CENTRAL LONDON
Fast. Reliable. Convenient. Trains leave every 15 minutes to and from Heathrow Airport and take just 15 minutes. The way travel should be, to find out more visit
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The home county
The compact county of Buckinghamshire is often unfairly labelled ‘commuter country’. It is in fact the most wooded part of Britain, famed for its bluebells, curious concentration of country houses and landscapes that inspired great artists. So it is better described using the superlatives of the great writer who lived there – Buckinghamshire is 'swizzfigglingly flushbunkingly gloriumptious'
View towards Ellesborough Church near Wendover, Buckinghamshire britain
photo: © Clifford rhodes/AlAmy
Words Jonathan oates
ust to the west of London lies one of England’s smallest counties. With its delightful collection of tidy towns, rolling hills and curiously large concentration of country houses, tiny Buckinghamshire certainly has a big heart. The county is long and slim and surrounded by a bevy of similar-sized neighbours – Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. It has played its part in national history and some of the country’s greatest characters have dwelt within its boundaries – it was home to our most-cherished children’s author, and has more than its fair share of myths and legends too.
We begin with what is very likely a myth, a delightful tale set in Bulstrode Park near Gerrards Cross in the south of the county, which boasts the remains of a large hill fort. After the Norman Conquest, the fort held out against the invaders, and the lord o f the manor and his seven sons routed them by charging, mounted on bulls. They then bestrode their bulls to William the Conqueror’s court. The king was so impressed that he let them keep their property and granted them the name Bulstrode. Another hill fort is Cymbeline’s Castle near Great Kimble. According to legend, if anyone runs around it seven times, they will meet the devil. Perhaps brave or foolhardy souls might wish to experiment to discern the truth. The Canterbury Tales’ pilgrims are well known, but there were other centres of pilgrimage in medieval England. One was at North Marston, a small village located between the towns of Aylesbury and Buckingham. Sir John Schorne was rector there between 1290 and 1314. He was revered as a saint, though never canonised. He caused a spring to appear (it is still there and known as Schorne’s Well). Drinking from the spring was said to heal gout, ague and other diseases and even the common cold, but the coming of the Reformation put paid to all this. Buckinghamshire also has a ghostly side. Hambleden Valley, just to the west of Marlow, is the haunt of Mary Blandy, hanged in 1752 for poisoning her father at her lover’s behest. Her ghost has been seen on a white horse on the road to Dolsden Farm. When a play was performed about the story, doors closed and opened and lights went on and off, all without human intervention. Whilst not strictly supernatural, Buckinghamshire boasts the Hell-Fire Caves, in West Wycombe. Although www.britain-magazine.com
photos: © istock/NatioNal trust images/clive Nichols illustratioN: susaN bull
Below: Rustic cottage and church porch in the pretty Buckinghamshire village of Hambleden. Right: The Parterre at Cliveden in August, with yellow gladioli and views back towards the house
Nr Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP18 0JH
Once the country home of the Rothschilds this Renaissance-style chĂ˘teau houses one of the finest collections of French 18th century decorative arts in the world. The Victorian garden has a parterre, aviary, seasonal displays, walks, fountains and statuary and with shops, restaurants and a plant centre, Waddesdon makes a memorable day out for everyone. For opening times and group rates phone 01296 653226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.waddesdon.org.uk
A combination of picturesque villages, lively historic towns and rural scenes...
Escape, Explore and Enjoy...
Friendly and professional staff at our Information Centres will be delighted to help you make the most of your time in our area. We can help with accommodation enquiries and bookings; local attractionsâ€™ information, events, where to eat and drink plus much more... Marlow
High Wycombe Information Centre Library Foyer, 5 Eden Place High Wycombe HP11 2DH Tel: 01494 421892 Follow us: @wycombetic
Marlow Information Centre 55a High Street (Entrance on Institute Road) Marlow SL7 1BA Tel: 01628 483597 Follow us: @marlowinfocentr
Princes Risborough Information Centre Tower Court, Horns Lane Princes Risborough HP27 0JA Tel: 01844 274795 Follow us: @risboroinfocent
For more information visit www.visitbuckinghamshire.org or email email@example.com 34 britain
Beautiful Buckinghamshire Approach to the north front of Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe. Below: Bluebells in Piper's Wood near Amersham
there are ghost stories associated with the caves, their claim to infamy lies elsewhere. Sir Francis Dashwood, once Chancellor of the Exchequer and owner of the nearby West Wycombe House, caused the caves to be hollowed out of a nearby hill in the mid 18th century as a cure for local unemployment. His aims were not wholly altruistic, though. The quarter mile of tunnels and caves also provided an excellent and discreet venue for social occasions with fellow libertines such as John Wilkes and Benjamin Franklin, both radical politicians. It is rumoured that immoral parties were held there under the auspices of the Hell Fire Club. Yet no one knows what really happened there. The caves are now well worth a visit. Radical politicians in Buckinghamshire were not always debauched. John Hampden, a leading Parliamentarian in the struggle for power against Charles I in the 17th century and a county MP, was one. He lived in Wendover and led the protest against the Ship Tax in the 1630s. He also had an active part in the ensuing civil war. This led to his death in the skirmish at Chalgrove Field in 1643. A statue to him was erected in Aylesbury. A further opponent of the same tax was the rector of Great Kimble’s church and this is commemorated in the church there. Another 17th-century Buckinghamshire radical was John Milton. His life and work is commemorated at his former residence in Chalfont St Giles, where he finished writing Paradise Lost and began Paradise Regained. This is open to visitors (purchased for posterity in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee), who can see numerous memorabilia of the great man of letters who was also a supporter of the Great Rebellion. Another rebel was Mrs Pankhurst, whose ‘country house’ was at 14 Ivy Lane in Stewkley, a fine old Tudor building. More influential than any of these was Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria’s favourite prime minister. Disraeli had Hughenden Manor at High Wycombe, now a National Trust property, as his country house. Unlike his great rival, Gladstone, who had a penchant for felling trees, it is pleasing to read that Disraeli liked planting them. Talking of prime ministers, we should mention that Chequers is within Buckinghamshire and lies close to the historic market town of Wendover. It was during World War I that a noble-spirited benefactor realised that prime ministers of the future might not possess a country house in order to have a retreat for both domestic use and for entertaining foreign dignitaries. Chequers was then bequeathed to the nation for such a use. One more country house that has been at the centre of politicking and scandal is Cliveden. This 19th-century house is the third on the site and was once the property of the most well-known female MP between the two world
photoS: © NtpL/Matthew aNtrobuS/ChriS thorNe/aLaMy
Queen Victoria’s favourite prime minister, benjamin Disraeli, had hughenden Manor near beaconsfield as his country house
Helmingham is famous for its Grade 1 listed gardens, redesigned by Lady Tollemache (a Chelsea Gold Medallist) set within a 400 acre deer park surrounding a moated Tudor Hall. Visitors enjoy the rare chance to see herds of red and fallow deer living in the wild as well as the enchanting herbaceous borders, the herd & knot gardens, rose and wild gardens. Many special events are held throughout the year.
21 November 2012 - 14 April 2013 A major new exhibition at Handel House Museum exploring the life, work and character of Handelâ€™s great collaborator Charles Jennens. Visit www.handelhouse.org for details of special concerts, talks and events celebrating this extraordinary man.
Tel: 01473 890799 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.helmingham.com
OPEN SATURDAYS, YEAR ROUND
AWARD WINNING GUIDED TOURS To book tickets please call +044 (0)844 847 1672 or visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk/housesofparliament for groups call +44 (0)844 847 2498 www.parliament.uk/visiting Follow us on Twitter @parliamentticketmaster Visitor service ad S&S+tag_202x129_Jan13.indd 1
wars, the American-born Nancy Astor. After her time it was where John Profumo, MP and Minister for War, met a young Christine Keeler and their association was to lead to disgrace for him in what became known as the Profumo affair of 1963. The beautiful house is now an exclusive hotel and the very extensive grounds are owned by the National Trust. The grounds – where Rule Britannia was first performed – are truly scenic and include a maze and play park for children. Although there are no royal palaces in the county, country houses here have entertained royalty. Perhaps one of the oldest is Chenies Manor, once used as a base for hunting by Edward I. Much of the present building dates to the 15th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was the principal seat of the Russell family. They entertained Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and it was here that Katherine Howard was discovered in adultery with Thomas Culpepper (both subsequently lost their heads). Charles I was later an involuntary guest when he was captured after the Civil War. Though still in private hands, this house, with its exquisite gardens, is open to the public. Another royal connection is Princess Victoria, an unmarried granddaughter of Queen Victoria who lived in Iver from 1925 to her death ten years later. Known as Toria, she was president of the local Horticultural Society. The county has few castles. One that still stands and can be visited is at Buckingham. This small town was once the county town in the Middle Ages. As with most county towns, it needed somewhere to hold miscreants prior to their trial and punishment, and the squat castle in the town's centre fulfilled the requirement. It is now open to the public and houses the town’s information centre, too. Just like most counties near London, Buckinghamshire has its fair share of associations with the film and TV industry. Foremost must be Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, which is forever linked to the Carry On films and the James Bond films past and present. Midsomer Murders is largely shot in the county. The opening sequences of the Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple films were shot in Denham. Two of the pubs in Old Amersham featured in one of Britain’s most successful films, Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Copstone Mill at Fingest appears in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Much has already been written about the county’s great houses. But humbler dwellings of the past also exist. One of the best places to see some of their interiors and exteriors is at the Chiltern Open Air Museum near Chalfont St Giles (a visit there could be combined with Milton’s house). Numerous buildings from the 18th to the 20th century, domestic and agricultural, have been rebuilt here. There is also a toll-house, a Victorian school house and an
photoS: © AyleSbury VAle DiStrict council/DAVe MArriott
roald Dahl, known for his skill as a writer for both children and adults, is commemorated at the roald Dahl Museum and Story centre
PhOTO: © JOhn BIgelOw TAylOR/The nATIOnAl TRuST/gReg BAlFOuR evAnS/AlAMy
Thomas Gray, the poet, well known for his Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. It is believed that Gray wrote his masterpiece in St Giles’ churchyard in Stoke Poges in 1750, where his tomb can now be seen. A more recent figure is Roald Dahl, known for his skill as a writer for both children and adults. His life and work is commemorated at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre at Great Missenden. Finally there are the geographical beauties which owe much to both nature and to the common sense of those people who saw fit to preserve them. Among the foremost are the Burnham Beeches, over four acres of woodland owned and preserved by the Corporation of London since the late 19th century, but open and free for all to access. The range of hills and valleys known as the Chilterns are another of Buckinghamshire’s picturesque attractions. Its southern portion borders the Thames and boasts one of the most delightful of the small Thameside towns, Marlow, where you can walk along the river on the northern bank. In the summer there is the Marlow regatta. Bourne End is a pretty Thameside village worth visiting too. Buckinghamshire is not merely the county one passes through on the way to or from London. It has much to recommend itself to all those who delight in historical associations and scenic beauty.
Buckinghamshire is accessible from the M40, M4 and the M1, as well as from London rail links from Marylebone and Paddington. Visit www.visitbuckinghamshire.org or www.britain-magazine.com
edi ch tor oic ’ s e i br
Previous page, from top: Walkers will delight in the Chilterns; the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre; Wendover was home to John Hampden, a leading Parliamentarian. Above: Aerial view of the North Avenue at Waddesdon Manor. Right: The Kings Arms pub in Old Amersham
iron church. Living history displays and re-enactments are frequently staged at weekends. On a smaller scale there is Bekonscot, near Beaconsfield, which is a miniature replica of an English village as it would have been just prior to World War II. War has had a limited direct impact. Yet there were a number of skirmishes in the civil wars of the 17th century. The Royal Standard of England pub at Forty Green was the headquarters of the Royalists during the fighting in the nearby woods. Sir Edmund Verney of Claydon House (a National Trust house and one frequently visited by Florence Nightingale) was killed fighting for Charles I at Edgehill in 1642. Of more recent vintage is the South African War Memorial at Wendover, situated about two miles from the town. It commemorates the county men who were killed in the Second Boer War of 1899-1902, sited where the visitor can see for miles around. The county’s best-known school is Stowe, once a country house that became a leading boarding school for boys (now admitting girls) following World War I. Whilst the house, dating mostly from the 18th century, is undoubtedly grand, it is the grounds, designed largely by ‘Capability’ Brown, that are even more impressive. It is said that they are the birthplace of quintessential English landscape gardening. The grounds are owned by the National Trust and are open to the public. We have already mentioned one of the county’s great literary figures, but at least two others stand out. One was
ta in r eco
J Old thatch Gardens
A fairytale house in a beautiful garden, filled with roses and fruit trees that burst into colour during the summer months. British children’s author enid Blyton wrote Tales of Old Thatch in this idyllic setting. Open May to August. 01628 572518; www.oldthatchgardens.co.uk J WaddesdOn ManOr
A Renaissance-style château designed by French architect Destailleur in 1874 for Baron
c om m e n d
Ferdinand de Rothschild, the manor was built to delight and surprise the Baron's friends and it still surprises today. Open late March. 01296 653226; www.waddesdon.org.uk J the kinGs arMs
Dating back to the 1400s, this pretty pub and hotel in the heart of Amersham village once hosted Oliver Cromwell and was used in the filming of Four Weddings and a Funeral. 01494 725722; www.kings-arms-hotel.com
famil celeb y fun glou rating ces herita ter ’s ge
plenty to enjoy at gloucester folk museum, including...
tea rooms cottage garden folk boutique &retro room
Discover the stories behind the stories...
and lots more at gloucester city museum, including...
interactive galleries crafty corner &cafe nerva
...and let your imagination run wild
recently renovated in conjunction with the heritage lottery fund
81-83 High Street Great Missenden | Bucks | HP16 0AL
01494 892192 | www.roalddahlmuseum.org
a hidden treasure…
for more info call 01452 396131 or visit www.gloucestermuseums.co.uk opening times tues to sat 10am – 5pm
Stoke Place is a luxurious country house hotel that blends original features with handpicked modern flourishes, award-winning dining and opulent accommodation – nestled just 30 minutes from central London. Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, SL2 4HT T: 01753 534 790 E: email@example.com www.stokeplace.co.uk
All the comforts of home In Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds Our stylish three and four star hotels range from a Victorian mansion to a contemporary lakeside resort, offering: • A range of accommodation, including self catering apartments • A choice of dining options • Superb leisure and gym facilities • Great locations near to many popular attractions
For bookings or more information call:
0800 374 692 or visit www.four-pillars.co.uk
MOTORING MUSEUM & TOY COLLEC TION Bourton-on-the-Water
It’s an enchanting adventure, a nostalgic journey and a great day out for the whole family Seven galleries • Over 50 vehicles Original enamel signs • Motoring curiosities TV’s superhero car, Brum Toy collection • Gift shop
call 01451 821255 visit cotswoldmotormuseum.co.uk
HEART OF THE COTsWOlds Inspiration for Tolkien, the most romantic street in Britain and once the site of bloodthirsty battles – the Cotswolds can claim more than undulating countryside and honey-coloured towns. In the second of our new series we spend 48 hours in picturepostcard England at its most beautiful and discover the places you mustn’t miss Words Jessica Tooze
phoTo: © JamEs JaCkson/alamy
Broadway Tower is located at the second highest point of the Cotswolds, with magnificent views
Itâ€™s best to start your exploration in the bucolic countryside to the north of the Cotswolds area
trade can be traced in Chipping Campden’s architecture, from its oldest house, built by one of the country’s most influential wool merchants William Grevel in about 1380, to the 500-year-old St James’ church that was built with money from the trade. The elegant high street was said by the English historian G M Trevelyan to be “the most beautiful village street now left on the island” and the grand sweep of buildings up to the 1627 Market Hall is one of the most handsome sights of the Cotswolds. The town also has important links with the Arts and Crafts movement; C R Ashbee set up his Guild of Handicraft here in 1902 and his workshop in the old silk mill in Sheep Street now contains the small Court Barn Museum. Visitors are also welcome at Hart Gold & Silversmiths’ workshop, the last operating remnant of the Guild. From Chipping Campden a lovely walk of around four miles across country will take you to Broadway Tower. Set on an ancient beacon site, the tower is 312m (1,024ft) above sea level, the second highest point on the
PLACES TO STAY the ebrington arms (www.theebringtonarms.co.uk) costs from £120 for B&B. This 400-year-old pub offers hearty and delicious meals with five lovely rooms, but the owners haven't lost sight of its importance as a traditional pub and it still functions as a thriving village local with award-winning ales and a welcoming open fire. Lords of the manor (www. lordsofthemanor.com) has rates for March/April starting from £238 for dinner, room and breakfast. The situation of this traditional hotel is truly romantic: undulating woods, formal gardens and parkland overlook a lake and sheepgrazed fields by a peaceful and unspoilt village, tucked away from any main roads. barnsLey house (www. barnsleyhouse.com) costs from £280 for bed, breakfast and use of the spa. The interior of this handsome Grade II-listed manor house is the perfect blend of old and new, the original features perfectly complimenting the muted tones of the modern decor. Restaurant The Potager’s Modern European dishes feature homegrown vegetables, salad leaves and herbs.
Facing page: A traditional Cotswolds cottage. This page (above): The Cotswolds is a haven for shoppers, with wares including everything from antiques to local produce; (below) the area is characterised by rolling green hills and farmland
PhoTos: © coTswolds TouRIsM
hether you’re a regular visitor to the green fields and golden buildings of the Cotswolds or you’re planning a first trip, we’ve tracked down the must-see highlights for a whistle-stop tour, right in the very heart of this treasured area of England. The Cotswolds roll through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire and extend into parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, the land crisscrossed with dry stone walls and attractive small towns and villages built of the underlying Cotswold stone. Each settlement is prettier than the next, but for some of the most memorable it’s best to start your exploration in the bucolic countryside to the north of the Cotswolds area, above the cities of Oxford and Cheltenham. Even in a weekend it’s possible to fit in plenty of highlights, and we start in Chipping Campden, one of the loveliest small towns in the Cotswolds and a gilded masterpiece of limestone and craftsmanship. As one of the most important of the medieval wool towns, the influence of the flourishing
Above: A pretty Cotswolds cottage. Right: The Ebrington Arms offers the perfect combination of B&B, gastro pub and local boozer
Cotswold escarpment, and for a small fee you can climb up through what is now a dainty museum, featuring a room dedicated to William Morris who rented it in the 1880s and another to the Tower’s involvement in the two world wars. (The Royal Observer Corps used the unique vantage point to track enemy planes over England and later constructed a nuclear bunker during the Cold War.) At the top you can enjoy extensive views across the Worcestershire countryside towards the Vales of Evesham and Gloucester. It is possible to survey an area that includes as many as 13 counties and on a clear day you may see across the Severn Valley as far as the Welsh mountains and beyond. There is also a brand new visitor centre, café and shop – Morris & Brown – where you can stop for a tasty snack or a cup of coffee after your walk, taking in views of the surrounding deer park. We had got a flying start to the morning thanks to our previous night’s stay at the pretty village of Ebrington, a small hamlet around three miles from Chipping Campden that remains little changed by the modern world. The 17th-century
village pub The Ebrington Arms offers a wonderful bed and breakfast and is the perfect place to kick back and relax for your first night in the Cotswolds. This is a quintessentially English country pub, from the welcoming crackle of log fires under low-beamed ceilings to the friendly locals nursing pints of real ale, – it is convivial and comfortable and little changed over the years. Our next stop is Moreton-in-Marsh, a traditional market town with a wide main street. Tuesday is market day and people come from far and wide to visit the range of stalls. There is also a plethora of antique shops, teashops, restaurants, inns and hotels all vying for your attention. Reputedly King Charles I slept at The White Hart Inn in 1642 and The Bell Inn is said to have been the inspiration for J R R Tolkien’s The Prancing Pony in The Lord of the Rings. The author visited Moreton-in-Marsh many times on his regular trips from Oxford to the area. It is suggested that the local Four Shire Stone, the Rollright Stones and Broadway Tower may have also have inspired his Three Farthing Stone, the Barrow Downs and the Seeing Seat at the hill of Amon Hen respectively. www.britain-magazine.com
Explore the high street and stop for a traditional afternoon tea at the Marshmallow Restaurant and Tea Rooms, on the high street, or head south to Stow-on-the-Wold for a pint at The Royalist Hotel, the location of the oldest inn in England with a history reaching as far back as AD987. The town boasts a variety of galleries and the beautiful and historic church of St Edward – take time to admire the north door, flanked by Tolkienesque intertwined yew trees that seem to grow out of the stone itself. The church was also the setting for the final conflict of the English Civil War when in 1646 a Royalist army marched through the Cotswolds in a desperate attempt to join up with King Charles at Oxford. They were finally confronted and defeated at Stow-on-the-Wold by a Parliamentary force, and over 1,000 were imprisoned within the church. Time to relax now after a busy day at one of the Cotswolds’ classic
manor house hotels. The enchanting Lords of the Manor is the perfect country retreat for those who enjoy nothing better than curling up with a book or taking a stroll in beautiful surroundings. Tucked away in Upper Slaughter, a timeless corner of the Cotswolds, the 17th-century former rectory has walled gardens, lovely parkland and a burbling brook of crystal-clear water running through the grounds. For a real treat, book the Tracy Room, which is the original master bedroom with quirky decor, a huge window and wonderful views towards the lake, and make sure you try the tasting menu in the Michelinstarred restaurant. Next morning, after a delicious breakfast of local Cotswold Legbar eggs with their distinctive blue shells, set out to explore on foot. A pleasant walk of about an hour and a half takes you over the fields and through woodland down to the Old Mill at Lower Slaughter. The name stems from the Old English name for the
photos: © the ebrington arms/lords of the manor/dave porter/alamy/ cotswolds tourism/ dave porter/looK die bildagentur der fotografen gmbh
The enchanting Lords of the Manor is the perfect Cotswolds country retreat
Above centre and right: The Cotswolds countryside is a haven for walkers. Left: For a treat, book the Tracy Room at Lords of the Manor britain
Today the hotel offers the ultimate in boutique luxury, including a lovely little spa with heated outside hydrotherapy pool; attractive gardens brimming with flowers and vegetables throughout the year; and modern, chic bedrooms. Room one spans a huge corner of the main house overlooking the gardens and boasts a fabulous, spacious bathroom with twin roll-top baths, while The Secret Garden offers your own retreat with a glass façade overlooking a private garden and pond. Dinner in the Potager Restaurant is a delight, featuring home-grown and locallysourced ingredients combined into delicious dishes. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in everything the Cotswolds does best – tranquil settings with an old-English flavour, excellent local food, historic and beautiful buildings and a friendly welcome.
The village is home to Copse Hill Road, dubbed the ‘most romantic street in Britain’
Above: The market town of Stow-onthe-Wold. Right: The contemporary spa at Barnsley House hotel
For more information about the Cotswolds visit the BRITAIN website www. britain-magazine.com or www.cotswolds.com
J Court barn MuseuM (www. courtbarn.org.uk) costs £4 for adults and £3.25 for concessions. it is free to take a look at the silversmiths at work in hart Gold & silversmiths (www.hartsilversmiths.co.uk). J broadway tower (www. broadwaytower.co.uk) is worth a visit for the views and tiny museum. to climb the tower costs £4.50 for adults and £4 for concessions. it has a small shop on the ground floor and nearby morris & brown (www.morrisandbrown.co.uk) has a friendly café and shop selling various arts and crafts. J MarshMallow restaurant and tea rooMs (www.marshmallow-
tea-restaurant.co.uk) offers traditional high tea for £12.95 per person. J the garden spa at barnsley house (www.barnsleyhouse.com/spa) offers wellbeing, skincare and anti-aging treatments featuring the aromatherapy associates and rodial ranges.
photos: © Justin Kase/alamy/barnsley house
wet land ‘slough’ or ‘slothre’ (muddy place) upon which it lies. This picturesque village is home to Copse Hill Road, dubbed the ‘most romantic street in Britain’. Equally if not even more pretty is the nearby town of Bourton-on-theWater, which is also within walking distance of Lords of the Manor. The chocolatebox town straddles the River Windrush with a series of graceful low bridges and is extremely popular with visitors who are served by a range of tearooms, shops and attractions. The Model Village, Cotswold Motoring Museum and Birdland are all in the town and well worth a visit. To finish off your Cotswolds weekend in style, a 20-minute drive will bring you to the quaint village of Barnsley and the sumptuous Barnsley House hotel. You'll find '1697' and 'BB' carved into the Cotswold stone above the garden door of this glorious honey-coloured building. The carvings mark the date that Brereton Bouchier, Barnsley village’s squire, built the property.
The Queen of the Cotswolds
COTSWOLD JOURNEYS www.cotswoldjourneys.com
Pic: Clive Burling
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)1242 254353
COTSWOLD JOURNEYS www.cotswoldjourneys.com
Telephone 01242 602308 www.sudeleycastle.co.uk
email: email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)1242 254353
Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire GL54 5JD
Discover the Treasures of the Cotswolds at the Corinium Museum. Exhibitions & events, shop & café on site
Discover the Treasures of the Cotswolds at the Corinium Museum. Exhibitions & events, shop & café on site
Download our brand new Corinium Museum app before your Visit
Download our brand new Corinium Self-guided hiking holidays including The Cotswold Way National Museum app Trail, Bath and Oxford. before your Visit Themed guided tours such as the Arts and Crafts, English Country Gardens and Scenic Country Walking.
Luxury tours, tailor-made holidays and short breaks.
01285 655611 www.coriniummuseum.org Park Street, Cirencester, GL7 2BX www.britain-magazine.com
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with en-suite rooms Hand picked B&Bs or hotels Luggage transportation Detailed route instructions and maps Knowledgeable local guides Private group tour specialists
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Burford House Hotel
The pretty town of Burford is often described as the ‘Gateway to the Award winning breakfast, light lunches and dinner, which is available Cotswolds’, situated just 20 miles west of the historical city of Oxford and Wednesday - Saturday evenings, served in the theatrically themed within a short journey to many pretty golden Cotswold villages. Situated restaurant, Centre Stage, where diners can tuck into freshly prepared meals, at the heart of Burford is the impressive five-star 17th Century Burford cooked from locally sourced organic produce where possible, to the sound House Hotel offering bed & breakfast accommodation for families, groups of musicals. Two comfortable lounge areas, one of which features a logor couples wishing to truly ‘escapeWednesday to the country.’ Described by visitors as inburning stove, this provides guestsserved with somewhere pleasant to relaxWednesday after a to Saturday evenings, served the theatrically Wednesday to Saturday evenings, in the theatrically to Saturday ‘a wonderful, friendly and charming hotel’ it’s no wonder guests continue to busy day exploring, or before and after dinner. return year after year... Many walks lead from Burford and meander through the glorious Cotswold Built from original Cotswold stone the hotel stands on the main high countryside surrounding the town. An excellent base for sightseers where street giving easy access to shops, public houses and restaurants. The there are plenty of gardens, Stately homes and activities to be enjoyed accommodation consists of eight tastefully decorated en-suite double within a short walk or drive. bedrooms all with their own individual style and a touch of elegance. King and Queen sized four-poster beds draped with Egyptian cotton linen, The Burford House Hotel is also available to hire for larger parties wanting antique furniture, roll-top bathtubs and fine porcelain combined with flat exclusive access to the entire home - ideal for special occasions and family screen televisions, DVD/CD players, complimentary toiletries, bathrobes and get-togethers. a hospitality tray to make your stay truly luxurious.
For further information or to make a booking please telephone 01993 823151. Additional details regarding the accommodation and things to see and do in the surrounding area can be found on our website www.burfordhouse.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A realm of A realm of your own your own Ever wanted to know what it felt like to live the life of a lord or lady? Ever wanted it felt like 16 to immaculately live the life of a lord or lady? Now you canto byknow stayingwhat at one of our Now you can by staying at one of our 16 immaculately maintained holiday cottages. maintained cottages. To book call holiday 0870 333 1187 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk To book call 0870 333 1187 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk 48 britain
EXPERIENCE NATURAL SCOTLAND
WIN a four-day holiday in Royal Deeside with the National Trust for Scotland, including a Land Rover safari and a visit to the magnificent Crathes Castle
magnificent countryside. Summertime is perfect for mountain-biking and, in winter, crosscountry and downhill skiing at nearby Glenshee. During your stay, join one of the estate’s Rangers as they take you off the beaten track with an adventurous Land Rover safari where you will hear all about the history of the landscape and go in search of wildlife including Golden Eagle and Red Deer. A short drive away stands Crathes Castle, a magnificent 16th-century tower house with connections to Robert the Bruce. The castle’s world famous walled garden features historic yew hedges and colourful herbaceous borders, providing a more cultivated yet equally beautiful view of natural Scotland.
HOW TO ENTER To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous competition, simply tell us in which National Park Mar Lodge is located. Fill in the form below or enter via the BRITAIN magazine website at www.britain-magazine.com The closing date is 1 May 2013.
THE PRIZE, TERMS AND CONDITIONS
One winner (plus three guests) will win a four-night midweek break (Monday-Friday) at the National Trust for Scotland-owned Mar Lodge Estate Apartments, guided tour of Crathes Castle with afternoon tea, garden masterclass and Land Rover safari. Must be redeemed in full by 31 October 2013 and is subject to availability.
NATURAL SCOTLAND COMPETITION ENTRY FORM SEND YOUR COUPON TO: Natural Scotland Competition, BRITAIN magazine, The Chelsea Magazine Company, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ , UK. Or to: Natural Scotland Competition, BRITAIN magazine, 116 Ram Cat Alley, Suite 201, Seneca, SC 29678 USA. My answer: Name: Address:
e’ve teamed up with the National Trust for Scotland, to offer one lucky winner (and three guests) the chance to experience the Year of Natural Scotland with a wonderful holiday in Royal Deeside. The prize features a fournight stay in the beautiful Mar Lodge and a private guided tour of Crathes Castle, with afternoon tea and a gardening masterclass. A stay at Mar Lodge, lying at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, is a truly unforgettable experience. This restored Victorian sporting lodge has five bright and airy self catering apartments, each furnished with a wonderful mix of antique elegance and eco-friendly modern living. Mar Lodge Estate is a 29,000-hectare wilderness of ancient Caledonian pine forest and heather-wrapped mountains. From internationally significant archaeological remains to outstanding rare wildlife and four of Britain’s five highest peaks, the estate is a jewel in the crown of one of the country’s most iconic landscapes. Our lucky winner will have the opportunity to explore these beautiful surroundings – perhaps test yourself with challenging mountain hikes, or enjoy gentler walks along lowland paths through
Terms and conditions apply. For full details go to chelseamagazines.com/terms-and-conditions. Please tick here if you subscribe to BRITAIN Please tick here if you would prefer not to be contacted by BRITAIN , the competition sponsor , or carefully selected third parties .
CC Britain magazine April:Layout 1
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Places To Stay
R aiSe the Roof try traditional rural English living, when you stay in one of these exquisitely beautiful thatched cottages
B photoS: CoURtESY © LANDMARK tRUSt
ritain’s picturesque landscapes are – in many areas at least – made even more beautiful by the presence of a thatched cottage or two. Remarkably, we were in danger of losing this traditional way of roofing, and with it the collection of beautiful thatched cottages that turn a pretty hamlet into a magnificent must-visit village. The history of British thatching dates back more than three centuries. As communities became more settled and began growing crops, so wheat straw – the natural by-product of each year's harvest – became the standard and cheap method of covering roofs. But then slate became readily available. Since it was easily transported
by canal, and later by rail, it became the main material for the great building projects of the Victorian age, replacing thatch entirely in many regions. “Thatch became the poor man's roof! The Victorians used it on faux rural follies, but the general trend was not only to build new houses with tile and slate but to remove the thatch from existing properties,” explains Warwickshire-based Jem Raison, who has been thatching Cotswold cottages since 1978. “The brakes were eventually applied in the early 1970s as conservation departments reversed their policy and encouraged rethatching,” says Jem. The result is a wonderful array of thatched homes, in all shapes and sizes, britain
All that now remains of the old village is purton Green house. Inside, its late medieval walls survive and, incredibly, its hall dates back to 1250
photoS: CoURtESY © LANDMARK tRUSt/CLASSIC CottAGES/www.UNIqUEhoMEStAYS.CoM
scattered across the countryside. We visited some of our favourites, beginning with a fairytale cottage in idyllic Devon. Swiss Cottage (1), located in the grounds of Endsleigh near Tavistock in Devon overlooks the River Tamer and the thick colourful forest that lines its banks. It’s a delightful example of a traditional thatched property, but it has an unusual twist. The two-bedroomed cottage, with its thick thatch, has been lovingly restored by the Landmark Trust, who has carved out a niche in the field of rescuing and restoring interesting historic buildings and giving them a new lease of life as holiday accommodation. The Landmark Trust acquired Swiss Cottage in 1977, and it is an early example of the 19th-century passion for the Alps. Designed in 1815 by Jeffry Wyattville, the cottage has a distinctive look – both inside and out – complete with an Alpine garden, Swiss furniture and a verandah that surrounds the living room, and which was used by the Duke for picnics and
shooting lunches. How he must have impressed his guests from this lofty viewpoint, high above the Endsleigh grounds and the River Tamer. From one Landmark Trust property to another – this one in the remote village of Purton Green, one of the many ‘lost villages’ of Suffolk. It lies on an old road (now a mere path) running south from Bury St Edmunds. All that now remains of the village is Purton Green (2) cottage. Inside, its late medieval walls survive and, incredibly, its hall dates back to 1250. Its scissor-braced trusses and ornamental arcade are an indication that this house must once have been a very important place. Purton Green oozes historical charm and its remoteness (the nearest road is 400 yards away) adds to its charm – a wheelbarrow is provided to ferry your luggage from car to cottage. The two-bedroomed cottage has a comfortable living room with a log-burning stove and lovely dining area, perfect for long suppers after a day spent walking in the serene Suffolk countryside. www.britain-magazine.com
Places To Stay
Places To Stay
Thatch became the poor man's roof! The Victorians used it on faux rural follies, but the general trend was to build new houses with tile and slate
phoToS: CoURTESY © LANDMARK TRUST
1. SwiSS Cottage
Endsleigh, Nr Tavistock, Devon Sleeps four; dogs allowed; tel: 01628 825925; visit: www.landmarktrust.org.uk 2. Purton green, Stansfield, Suffolk Sleeps four; dogs allowed; tel: 01628 825925; visit: www.landmarktrust.org.uk 3. LegarS Cottage Nr Exeter, Devon Sleeps four; no pets allowed; tel: 01326 555555; visit: www.classic.co.uk 4. oLd Fox Cottage Bretforton,Worcestershire Sleeps four; no pets allowed; tel: 01637 881942; visit: www.uniquehomestays.com 5. Love Lane Cottage Nr Coverack, Cornwall Sleeps five; no pets allowed; tel: 01637 881942; visit: www.uniquehomestays.com 6. CauSeway HouSe Bardon Mill, Northumberland Sleeps 4; dogs allowed; tel: 01628 825925; visit: www.landmarktrust.org.uk 7. brookSide Cottage Nr Bridgwater, Cornwall Sleeps four; no pets allowed; tel: 01326 555555; visit: www.classic.co.uk
Two-bedroomed Causeway House (6) near Bardon Mill in Northumberland is the only house in the area still thatched in heather (known locally as ‘black thack’). Built in 1770, this old farmhouse was abandoned but remarkably its thatched roof survived. When the Landmark Trust purchased the house, they found two well-worn dresses, believed to date from around 1890, stuffed into holes in the roof. Inside, the original arrangement of the rooms remains: the living room is on one side of the cross-wall with the byre on the other. The loft runs above and is now a warm-weather bedroom where you can sleep under the tent-like thatch. Brookside Cottage (7) is a traditional thatched home in an idyllic rural Somerset setting. The two-bedroomed, semi-detached cottage near Bridgwater sits in a beautiful wooded valley. Its well-equipped kitchen, with electric Aga, is perfect for anyone who enjoys cooking while on holiday. If you want a home-from-home with walks on your doorstep – this is the place for you. Brookside is one of many properties offered by Classic Cottages. Unlike Landmark, they do not own the buildings, but work tirelessly, inspecting each one to ensure high standards – even checking that the crockery matches!
Legars Cottage (3) in South Devon, which also sleeps four, is another Classic Cottages property. Nestled on the gentle slopes of the Clyst Valley, it is picture-box perfect. The cottage is part of a larger building – a Grade II listed 16th-century longhouse. If you like to mix with the locals, head to the nearby Five Bells Inn, built around the same time and in the same style as Legars. If a little bit of British quirkiness is what you fancy, then try Old Fox Cottage (4) in Bretforton, Worcestershire. Inside it is light and airy with all the mod cons. The quirkiness is delivered outside in the shape of Old Foxy who keeps watch over his waddling ducks atop the eaves. The cottage is a Unique Home Stays offering. They have another thatched cottage in Coverack, Cornwall – Love Lane (5), has it all: a beautiful interior, log-burning stove, modern furniture, a tranquil garden and a traditional stone-and-mortar exterior, all topped off with the obligatory thatched roof. It gets better: the fantastic setting on the Lizard Peninsula means you’re only a short meander from some of Cornwall’s most beautiful beaches.
For prices and more information about the cottages mentioned here please visit www.britain-magazine. com www.britain-magazine.com
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ake the short flight or ferry journey from the mainland and you will find yourself in two of the UK’s finest holiday destinations – the beautiful islands of Guernsey and Alderney. Both offer wonderfully indulgent experiences and superb accommodation and restaurants, like Fermain Valley Hotel on Guernsey and Braye Beach Hotel on Alderney. These two magnificent, four-star hotels pride themselves on their level of luxury and personal approach to service. You’ll feel the stresses and strains of everyday living melting away from the moment you are welcomed through their doors. The Fermain Valley Hotel is perched atop one of Guernsey’s prettiest valleys with views over the tranquil green canopy down to the sea. Set in several acres of landscaped gardens, its facilities include two excellent restaurants, an indoor pool and sauna, private 3D cinema, an elegant lounge with open fire and intimate library – perfect for tucking yourself away and enjoying some quiet time with a good book. The hotel’s restaurant holds two AA Rosettes for its food. Outside, there are several tiers of wooden decking where you can relax with a refreshing drink, dine al fresco, or just take in the impressive views. The bedrooms at Fermain Valley are also stunning. They're beautifully decorated and many have views down the valley and out to sea. Special attention has been paid to comfort, with wonderfully comfortable beds and luxurious bed linen to assure a great night’s sleep. Very few hotels in the UK have a view to surpass Fermain Valley’s sister hotel, the Braye Beach Hotel in www.britain-magazine.com
Alderney. It is literally on the beach! It is a true get-away-from-it-all destination. From the moment you arrive, you sink into Alderney time. The coastal path is fantastic, and if you are a bird watcher, golfer, cyclist, runner, walker, water sports enthusiast, fisherman, surfer, history buff or wildlife enthusiast you can be sure your interest will be well served. The exterior decked areas of the hotel provide a comfortable haven from where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the breathtaking view; ideal for those days when you are feeling less energetic. The hotel has an AA Rosette restaurant and the food is excellent, with much focus on locally caught seafood and fresh island produce. The bedrooms at Braye Beach are beautifully appointed with many offering sea views. All are equipped to the same standard as those at its sister hotel, Fermain Valley in Guernsey, with the added bonus of being able to fall asleep to the lull of the waves breaking rhythmically on the beach. Braye Beach has a private cinema and a huge library of DVDs for guests to enjoy, two comfortable lounges and a private dining room. The welcome at Braye is a truly hospitable one and from the moment you arrive, nothing will be too much trouble for the attentive, helpful staff who will ensure that by the end of your stay, you will already be looking forward to a return visit.
EXCLUSIVE READER OFFER: BOOK BY 30 APRIL AND RECEIVE A FREE BOTTLE OF SPARKLING WINE. We have teamed up with Vista Hotels so that you can experience both of these wonderful properties. The Twin Islands Special Offer includes three nights in Guernsey at Fermain Valley and two nights at Braye Beach, with dinner on one evening at each hotel, inter-island flight (Guernsey to Alderney) and return taxi transfer from Alderney airport to Braye Beach Hotel, from only £391 per person. For further information or to make a booking, please visit www.vistahotels.co.uk, email reservations @ vistahotels.co.uk or FREEPHONE 0800 316 0314 quoting BRITAIN MAGAZINE Terms and conditions apply – please see the BRITAIN website for details: www.britain-magazine.com
Edwardian HousEs The Gilded Age produced a huge number of spectacular country houses – some ultra smart and comfortable, suiting the tastes of the king, and others of an idealistic and romantic hue, capturing the imaginations of a new kind of client. We go inside some of the finest, with the help of the author of ‘The Edwardian Country House’
pHoTo: © NATioNAl TrusT imAGEs/JoHN millEr
WORDS ClivE AslET
Polesden Lacey in Surrey occupies a serenely beautiful position, overlooking a sloping valley
photo: ÂŠ national trust images/andreas von einsiedel
Designed by the architects of The Ritz hotel, Polesden Lacey was intended as the perfect setting for a relaxed Edwardian house party. From the glamorous drawing room (pictured here) to the gilded saloon, each room has its own character
rance has La Belle Epoque, America the Gilded Age; the equivalent British term, Edwardian, is a little too narrow to encompass the whole of the glorious turn of the 20th century. Edward VII had waited a long time before succeeding his mother Queen Victoria in 1901, and he died nine years later. Stylistically, a date range of 1890 to 1914 would be better. But in his person the king undoubtedly signalled a change in mood. In contrast to the Widow of Windsor, as Queen Victoria was known, dressed permanently in black after the death of the Prince Consort, Edward VII had an easy-going temperament and an appetite for pleasure. He loved women, racing, playing cards for money and food; his intimates gave him the nickname of Tumtum. He surrounded himself with the new rich, whatever their background. The Marlborough House Set, as his circle was known from the London palace that the king had occupied as Prince of Wales, epitomised everything that was smart. So did their houses. To get a flavour of this world, visit Polesden Lacey in Surrey. Although quite close to London, it occupies a serenely beautiful position, overlooking a sharply sloping valley: a site whose picturesque possibilities had been developed by the 18th-century owner, the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. From 1906 the house was the home of Mr and Hon Mrs (Ronnie) Greville. Maggie Greville provided the money. Not everybody liked her. As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish brewer, her own early life had been difficult and she did not see why she should make the path smoother for other people. But her marriage to Ronnie – son of an earl and friend of George Keppel, husband of one of the king’s favourite mistresses, Alice – allowed her to make a determined and successful assault on society. Osbert Sitwell felt he had “never encountered elsewhere” the “unobtrusive luxury” of Polesden Lacey. The house, which had been remodelled shortly before the Grevilles bought it, was generously planned. As well as the usual dining room and library, it had two drawing rooms – the second for bridge, which needed concentration, especially when stakes were high. Reached from a dark gallery, the principal of these rooms is dazzling, not only lit by five sets of French windows but opulently gilded. The opulent Louis XV furniture does not give the impression of great comfort, but this was a room to impress. It formed an appropriately glittering setting for women in sumptuous tea gowns, or plunging evening dresses and jewels. “Who does not know the aspect of a magnificently furnished
It formed an appropriately glittering setting for women in sumptuous tea gowns, or plunging evening dresses and jewels
You're in good company at You're in good Polesden Laceycompany at Polesden Lacey Ninety years ago the Duke & Duchess of York spent their
Ninety yearsat ago the DukeCelebrate & Duchess of York spent their honeymoon Polesden. their anniversary with honeymoon at Polesden. Celebrate their anniversary with us us (see website for more information). (see website for more information). Whilst you are here, enjoy the superb collection and Whilstinteriors, you are here, enjoy superborcollection and lavish lavish explore thethe gardens, wander around the interiors, explore the gardens, or views wander the Hills. estate enjoying the breathtaking ofaround the Surrey estate enjoying the breathtaking views of the Surrey Hills.
"We thought we knew our city - but this came as a surprise!” Grade II listed Edwardian Arts and Crafts House and Garden. Exhibition rooms, TerraceTea Room, Gift Shop, Gallery
For more information call 01372 452048 www.nationaltrust.org.uk/polesdenlacey Registered charity No. 205846.
...the heart of Somerset
University of Birmingham, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham, B15 2RT www.winterbourne.org.uk Tel. 0121 414 3003
St Chad’S College St Chad’s College is set on a dramatic site in the shadow of Durham Cathedral in the centre of medieval Durham.
A warm welcome awaits you at The Castle Hotel. T: +44 (0)1823 272671 email@example.com The Castle Hotel, Castle Green, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1NF
Ensuite and Standard B&B accommodation is available in historic buildings which are far older than their Georgian frontages suggest.
18 North Bailey, Durham DH1 3RH Tel: 0191 334 3358 • email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.britain-magazine.com
photos: © ntpl/andreas von einsiedel
Above: The dining room at Standen, West Sussex; trelliswork and pierced central and side panels of the fender echo the forms of overmantel and fretwork panel above. Right: South front of Standen
drawing-room in a large country house at five thirty,” asked Lady Jeune, “with its well-shaded lamps and candles throwing a subdued light over a scene as brilliant as any evening entertainment, where the brocades and silks and lace and flashing jewels make all observers rub their eyes, and wonder whether this fairy scene is not a dream?” That was Polesden Lacey all over. Like other Edwardian country houses, Polesden Lacey is decorated in a sequence of contrasting styles, with a Georgian dining room to show off Mrs Greville’s fine English portraits, bought from Agnew’s at the top of the market. Here, in 1909, the French chef served Edward VII with a dinner that consisted of soup, salmon or whitebait, boudins de volaille princesse, saddle of lamb, quail with ortolans, salad, vegetables, sweet and savoury. In the 1920s, Polesden Lacey hosted the honeymoon of the late Queen Mother and the Duke of York, later George VI. Over the Scottish border in Berwickshire, Manderston is another super smart house. Its owner, Sir James Miller, married Eveline, a daughter of Lord Scarsdale and sister of the future Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India. To commemorate the union, he employed the sensitive and scholarly John Kinross to build a boathouse in 1894. Within a year, Kinross was at work designing a neoClassical stable block, whose stalls had teak sides and solid brass posts, the horses’ names (all of which, like Milton, Margot and Matchless, began with M for Miller and Manderston) being mounted on marble tablets. Soon afterwards, the architect rebuilt the home farm in a
Scottish Baronial style, with a model dairy in marble and alabaster and a tearoom – to show guests after luncheon – modelled on a room in the Palace of Holyroodhouse. When, on his return from the Boer War in 1901, Miller was dragged along a flower-strewn path by his tenantry, he found the mansion house at the end of the route unsatisfactory. Kinross rebuilt it, paying Lady Miller the compliment of taking the stylistic theme from her childhood home, Kedleston Hall. Beneath Adam-style ceilings are walls hung with damask. Miller went one better than Kedleston on the staircase, whose baluster is covered in silver leaf. But not all Edwardian owners sought the manifest luxury of Polesden Lacey and Manderston. Others were motivated by idealism. Reacting against the ugliness of the Industrial Revolution, they wanted to perpetuate local
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photos: © ntpl/andreas von einsiedel/howard philips
traditions, while celebrating a simpler, more artistic way of life. Standen, overlooking the Sussex Downs, brims with these slightly earnest principles, having been built for James Beale, a solicitor, and his family by William Morris’ old friend Philip Webb. In 1877, he and Morris had founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), a body dedicated to preserving the fabric of old structures – largely medieval churches – from the wellintentioned vandalism of architects who wanted to restore them too aggressively: every stone was sacred, because it had been shaped by one of the anonymous artist-craftsmen of the Middle Ages. SPAB became practically a seminary for the transmission of Arts and Crafts values to the radical young architects who joined. As Dissenters, the Beales had a natural sympathy with the temperamentally puritanical Webb. Life at Standen went on against a backdrop of gardens and croquet lawns, orchards that froth with blossom at springtime and hills rolling away into the distance. This was a happy family home. It was also a home of art, as can be seen from the Arts and Crafts furniture and pots that are displayed in the white-painted rooms. Time was not to be wasted in the Beale domestic circle, and spare minutes were spent in making curtains to hide the radiators. Mrs Beale and her three daughters, Amy, Margaret and Dorothy, were accomplished embroideresses whose work can be seen in what was originally a portiere curtain, later turned into a bedspread. Lindisfarne Castle expressed a yearning for romance. Set on Holy Island, off the Northumberland coast, and cut off by tides twice a day, it was a genuine castle. “I want to amuse myself with the place,” declared Edward Hudson, after he acquired the lease in 1902. Five years earlier he had founded the magazine Country Life. There
Life at Standen went on against a backdrop of gardens and croquet lawns and orchards that froth with blossom at springtime
Clockwise from top left: Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland; Lindisfarne's dining room; the beautiful furniture in the ship room at Lindisfarne
was only one possible choice of architect for him to remodel the 16th-century castle for early-20th-century life: Edwin Lutyens. Hudson had met Lutyens through his garden editor Gertrude Jekyll and immediately recognised the young man as a genius. Not only did he do everything he could to promote Lutyens’ work through the pages of his magazine, but employed him to build no fewer than three country houses for himself, as well as the Country Life office in Covent Garden. Lindisfarne was country house number two. Hudson and Lutyens delighted in the manifest inconvenience. The appeal was lost on some of britain
their more sybaritic guests, such as Lytton Strachey, who objected to being woken up for dawn fishing expeditions. Lutyens entered into the spirit of the place by taking a raven up on the train (its beak made “a noise like castanets” all the way). But there was a collision of worlds when the Prince and Princess of Wales (George V and Queen Mary) visited Lindisfarne in 1908. The prince could not conceal his boredom during an archaeological lecture. The princess could not bear the cobbles because they hurt her feet, although Lutyens told her he was very proud of them. For a sailor, the Prince expressed surprising concern about the tide. Hudson himself only used Lindisfarne for short stays and it became a show place for the old oak furniture that he loved. When Lutyens was commissioned to restore and enlarge Great Dixter in 1911, the 15th-century Sussex house owned by Nathaniel Lloyd, he and the client visited many buildings of similar date to research period details. One of them, a yeoman’s hall at Benenden in Kent, was for sale. Lloyd bought it, the timbers being photographed,
numbered, taken down, transported and re-erected to form the southern wing of Great Dixter, containing the principal bedroom. Lloyd, a master printer, would become an authority on the subject, publishing A History of English Brickwork in 1925. The interior of the house, with its exuberance of exposed oak, is still furnished with Lloyd’s four-poster beds, rush seated chairs and rugs. More than any other architect of the early 20th century, Baillie Scott created artistic interiors for the houses of professional people, his innovative plans – based on open living halls – making the maximum use of limited space. The scale of Blackwell is different. Built for the Manchester brewery owner, Sir Edward Holt, his wife Elizabeth and their five children, it was not a holiday place on a beautiful site above Lake Windermere. Carved beams, stencilled friezes, stained glass windows, even wrought-iron light pendants take the beauties of nature that surround the house and bring them into the rooms. The result is a hymn to what E M Forster, in Howard’s End, called “the power of Home.”
Please check opening times before visiting any of the properties. Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, near Dorking RH5 6BD; tel 01372 452048; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/polesden-lacey. Manderston House, Dunstable, Berwickshire TD11 3PP; tel 01361 882 636; www. manderston.co.uk. Standen, West Hoathly Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 4NE; tel 01342 323029; www.nationaltrust.org. uk/standen. Lindisfarne, Holy Island, Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 2SH; tel 01289 389244; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lindisfarne-castle/ Clive Aslet is Editor at Large of Country Life and author of The Edwardian Country House, published by Frances Lincoln, priced £35. Purchase online at www.britain-magazine.com/britain-shop.com www.britain-magazine.com
photos: © paul carstairs/alamy/blackwell
Clockwise from main: Blackwell's main hall; Great Dixter House, Rye; the exterior of Blackwell
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Do get in touch with your views about the country, your travels and the magazine Book lovers
OUR FAVOURITE LETTER Being an expat (from Sussex) and an avid cover-to-cover reader of BRITAIN, I couldn’t help but notice in the feature about the wives of Henry VIII (Volume 81 Issue 1) that you have the year of his birth wrong (on page 68). He was actually born in 1491– not 1509. He did, as you say, marry Catherine of Aragon in 1509, and she was the first of the six wives and innumerable mistresses the lecherous Henry had. In retrospect, Anne of Cleves was probably the most fortunate of the King’s wives. Henry ‘obtained’ her (sight unseen) and never consummated the marriage – lucky girl! Then, when they divorced six months later, in July of 1540, she received a most generous settlement, which included Hever Castle, and she also outlived Henry by ten years. Not a bad deal for a woman who could have lost her head at the whim of a king. Keep up the good work with your excellent, enjoyable magazine! John Cole, Toronto, Canada BRITAIN REPLIES Sorry for the confusion, John, but in this instance our dates refer to the period of his reign, rather than his life. And we’re in agreement with you over Anne of Cleves’s extremely lucky escape!
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As my husband and I visit Britain more and more, we recognise more places that we have enjoyed. For instance, one issue (Volume 80 Issue 5) features a picture of Winkle Street in Calbourne (pictured below) on the Isle of Wight, where we visited in August. Of course, reading a novel about a place always adds depth to a visit, and your article mentions the recent book, The Guernsey Literary Society. I can’t help but add and Potato Peel Pie Society another novel that really deserves to be mentioned, which is The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, by G. B. Edwards. Ebenezer, at 80, recalls the events that unfolded on Guernsey from the 1890s to the 1960s, in his life and the lives of those he knew, and it is an unforgettable book. When we visited Guernsey years ago, we asked a taxi driver if he could take us around the island to the sites featured in The Book of Ebenezer Le Page. He said absolutely – he had listened to the novel as serialised on BBC Guernsey. We had a great time. Trish Graboske, by email
What about Kingston? In Volume 80 Issue 6 of BRITAIN, you have an article on the River Thames. I find articles on the Thames always skip from Hampton Court to Richmond, completely missing Kingston-upon-Thames. I was born and raised in Kingston and the town had a wonderful Norman church, a cobbled market place, and many fine old buildings in the square. The most amazing thing is the Coronation Stone. Don’t you think it deserves at least a sentence? Janet Swartz, Harrison, AR, USA BRITAIN REPLIES We love Kingston too, Janet – we had a tough time sourcing great pictures of the area, but we promise we'll keep searching. www.britain-magazine.com
London from a local I enjoyed the feature on markets in the last issue (Volume 81 Issue 1); the writer really captured their character. Living in London, I’m spoilt for choice when it come to markets, from the food at Borough Market to the antiques on offer at Portobello. My favourite though is the Columbia Road Flower Market every Sunday, where I always try and go first thing in the morning before hoards of people arrive and the friendly traders start shouting “Three for a fiver, love!” Milly Goodwin, Bethnal Green, London COMPETITION WINNER Congratulations to Gill Hamill from Southampton, England. She is the winner of our Mini adventure in London competition. Gill and her guest will enjoy a fabulous stay in a Think Apartments property and a unique tour of the capital (in a classic Mini Cooper) with smallcarBIGCITY. BRITAIN
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I enjoy every issue of BRITAIN magazine very much – the photography is first class! One thing I would like to see is the occasional article about Northern Ireland, the land of my ancestors. It is still part of the United Kingdom, is it not? I can't recall the last time I saw an Irish article. In any event, keep up the good work. I enjoy every issue. Doug Blair, Toronto, Canada BRITAIN REPLIES Thank you for your email, Doug – we too would like to cover Northern Island more frequently. Watch this space. In the meantime, we hope you spotted our beautiful image of the Giant’s Causeway in Volume 80 Issue 6 (below).
As a born Anglophile, I am always delighted to receive my copy of BRITAIN. Not wishing to sound like another smarty pants American, however, I must point out that the Battle of Waterloo was in 1815, not 1818, as stated on page 98 in Volume 80 Issue 5. In my heart there will always be an England and in my magazine rack a copy of your beautiful magazine. William H. Vest, Booneville, Mississippi, USA BRITAIN REPLIES You are right, of course – apologies for the slip of the pen (keyboard)!
I just wanted to say that I and three of my friends had a great time on our Natural Retreats holiday, which we recently won in BRITAIN magazine. We travelled to Cornwall Trewhiddle. The accommodation was very spacious and comfortable and the staff on site were helpful and friendly. I would recommend the company to anyone who fancies a few days away from it all. We are thinking that we may try one of their other sites in the future. Thanks again from all of us. Sian Hudson plus friends Carolyn, Felicity and Karen, by email
It was a dark and stormy night…
It was 29 September – our wedding anniversary – and we were in southern England. It was dark and raining and we had no place to stay. Fortunately my little guidebook said that a place called The Sheriff House was nearby. It was one of the most unusual – and wonderful – places we have ever stayed! We were the only guests but were welcomed. A little stream ran through the property and our host frequently fed the fish, so when a trout came to the surface it was no problem to grab him – it was our main course. Next, he picked salad veggies and green beans from his garden. That’s all I can remember about our dinner except it was delicious. Thanks for your great magazine. C and D. S. Mabry, Lyme, Connecticut, USA HOW TO WRITE TO US By post to: Your Letters, BRITAIN magazine, Chelsea Magazines, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ; or to: Your Letters, BRITAIN, 116 Ram Cat Alley, Suite 201, Seneca SC 29678, USA Or email the editor: email@example.com
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Enjoy Sissinghurst Castle seven days a week New exhibitions, a great range of events, delicious food, beautiful estate and gardens. There's so much to do. We can't wait to see you. For more information or to find out about events call 01580 710700
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HISTORY From the bowler to the boater and the flat cap to the fascinator, the British love of hats is in a league of its own with traditions that date back centuries. We trace the nation’s love affair with headwear and the history of hats WORDS AMBER BUTCHART
PHOTO: © VISITBRITAIN/INGRID RASMUSSEN
ritain is a nation of hat wearers, of that there is no doubt. From the Artful Dodger’s battered top hat to Winston Churchill’s homburg, the history of the country can be told through the hats that have graced the heads of some of our most famous luminaries. Traditionally hats are a very loaded item and have almost totemic power in their ability to signify class, gender, occupation and a myriad of other stations. Even the protocol has symbolic value; from doffing your hat to launching mortar boards in the air, hats have long been associated with rituals and practices stretching back into the mists of time. With the Royal Wedding throwing British millinery back into the spotlight the time is ripe to take a tour of Britain’s heritage through its headwear. The humble flat cap can be traced back to medieval England and was even the subject of Tudor sumptuary laws. In an attempt to spur on the wool trade an Act of Parliament was instituted in 1571 decreeing that all males over six years old (except for the nobility) had to wear a
wool cap on Sundays and holidays, with a penalty of a fine if they refused. The non-aristocratic association stuck and the flat cap became an icon of working class culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. Ask anyone you meet which hat most coherently symbolises Britain and the answer is clear: the bowler. As with so many of our traditions, it was born in the Victorian age. The bowler was the brainchild of Lock and Co who has been fitting hats on royal heads since 1676. Its store on St James Street in Mayfair is a cornucopia of millinery apparatus and artefacts, from a hat owned by Wellington to Victorian instruments for measuring and drawing your head (still in working order). In 1849 Lock and Co commissioned Thomas and William Bowler to create a hardwearing hat for a Norfolk farmer, with the purpose of protecting gamekeepers’ heads from tree branches as they rode around country estates. The practicality and strength of the hat caught on, and before long no businessman was fully dressed without one. The hat was a trademark of a number of characters, from John Steed in The Avengers to Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, but no one has truly made the bowler their own quite like Charlie Chaplin. The Little Tramp, icon of silent-era comedy, certainly had a penchant for accessories, so much so that one of his famous bowlers and a cane was sold last November for $62,500! Archaeologist and heritage interpreter Sally Pointer specialises in reconstructing and creating historical hats. When asked about her favourite she comes down in favour of yet another classic: the deerstalker. It may be crystalised in the popular imagination as the hat of choice of Sherlock Holmes, but it's interesting to n ote that there is not a single mention of him donning a deerstalker in any works by Arthur Conan Doyle. The deerstalker was a vital aspect of the Victorian gentleman’s hunting ensemble, worn on country estates but not in the city, and as such it certainly would not have featured in Holmes day to day life around Baker Street. The association came about when illustrator (and contemporary of Doyle) Sidney Paget gave Holmes both a deerstalker and Inverness cape for out of town adventures such as The Boscombe Valley Mystery. The connection stuck and an icon was born, albeit an inaccurate one. But for Sally Pointer this is all part of its charm: “the willingness on
our part to accept a little eccentricity in an overall look fits the way the British approach hats perfectly.” The Edwardian era was a golden age of millinery. Ornamentation became ever more elaborate, with a cornucopia of flowers, birds, lace, ribbons, bows, feathers and artificial fruit regularly gracing heads in an opulent display of conspicuous consumption. Hatpins were essential to secure these creations to the head. The lengthy pins were useful for discouraging dangerous advances on the street, so much so that laws were proposed to ban this secret weapon in many cities around the world. Hats were still a necessity in public in Edwardian Britain, the Suffragettes even remained beautifully behatted when chained to railings and campaigning for the right to vote. But the hat hasn’t always been a symbol of propriety. Britain’s rich street style and subcultural heritage has often seen the hat become somewhat subversive. Anthropologist Ted Polhemus cites the pork pie hat and the Mod subculture as the perfect example. Originating in the mid-19th century, the pork pie hat (named for its resemblance to the dish) was the hat of choice for many welldressed Victorian city dwellers, but morphed into a key element of London street style a century later. Influenced by the Rude Boy culture from Jamaica – who in turn were influenced by the trilbies and pork pies of American gangster movies – the pork pie continued to evolve and became a defining look of the ska and rocksteady clubs of Two Tone, made famous by Jerry Dammers, founder of The Specials. Equally, not wearing a hat was seen as an act of rebellion. Polhemus recounts BBC footage of bare-headed Teddy Boys stealing a man’s hat on the street which visualised the moral panic that the Teds inspired. During the 1940s the headscarf turban was popular for women working in factories, to stop long Veronica Lakestyle hair from getting caught in machinery. The turban of the ‘Land Girl’ symbolised the war effort, patriotism and utility, while throughout the 50s hats became an essential aspect of French couture houses, keen to re-establish their pre-eminence on the fashion stage. By the 1960s, though, the rise of car ownership and the burgeoning Youthquake ensured that hats were no longer needed either as protection from the weather or as a demarcation of class. There has been a renaissance in hat wearing in the 21st century, thanks to a welcome boost in 2011 when the Royal Wedding coincided with the 300th anniversary of the races at Ascot, ensuring a vintage year for hats. Rachel Trevor-Morgan, milliner to The Queen since 2006, acknowledges the benefit of the Royal Wedding for the
In 1849 Lock and Co commissioned Thomas and William Bowler to create a hardwearing hat for a Norfolk farmer
Above: Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as drawn by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine. Right: Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
The humble flat cap can be traced back to medieval England and was even the subject of Tudor sumptuary laws
PHOTOS: ÂŠ PICTORIAL PRESS LTD/ALAMY/KEYSTONE PICTURES USA/ANWAR HUSSEIN/PA/VISITBRITAIN/INGRID RASMUSSEN/ SIMON WINNALL/PHOTOS 12
Clockwise from top left: A hat stall at Old Spitalfields Market in East London; The Duchess of Cambridge meets guests at Buckingham Palace; Harrods doorman; hats at London Fashion Week, Somerset House; Jackie St Clair attends the first day of Royal Ascot in Berkshire; Charlie Chaplin in The Idle Class Over: British popstar Paloma Faith in a Piers Atkinson design
A heady combination of heritage techniques and eccentric style have found their way into our 21st-century wardrobes
Fred Butler is an accessories designer who has made hand-crafted pieces for the likes of Björk and Lady Gaga. Taking the art of adorning the head to a new level, she shows her collections at London Fashion Week and was nominated for UK Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the year. With hat making in her blood (her grandmother was a milliner) she cites the financial climate as the motivating force behind increase in popularity, claiming “sales of red lipstick inflate in eras of economic downturn and it’s the same for accessories, especially those that frame the face.” Noel Stewart’s hats can be found on the pages of Harper’s Bazaar and on the heads of a new generation of hat wearers that includes Keira Knightley and Lily Allen. Stewart celebrates the addition of hats to a modern wardrobe, declaring that hat wearing gives a sense of freedom and individuality. This spirit of experimentation is the lifeblood of Britain’s sartorial history, and a heady combination of heritage techniques and eccentric style have found their way into our 21st-century wardrobes. Hats off to that.
J Writer, raconteur and style guru Quentin Crisp was recognisable for his eccentric tastes that included a giant purple fedora. J The late great fashion editor Isabella Blow was known for kick-starting the careers of both Alexander McQueen and milliner Philip Treacy, whom she allowed to set up a studio in her basement on graduating from college. J While the first top hat in England is credited to George Dunnage in 1793, it wasn’t until engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel took to them that they truly J The comedian Tommy Cooper was rarely seen
without his trademark fez, especially when attempting his failed magic tricks. Developed in the 17th century, the first Moroccan fezzes were constructed by specially selected artisans. J Molly Parkin put the Swinging into the 60s with her vast array of elaborate turbans. A painter, novelist and journalist, she established the influential style tome Nova that set sartorial standards for a generation.
became an icon of Victorian innovation, immortalised in the Olympics opening ceremony last year. J In the 18th century Georgiana, Duchess of
Devonshire (played by Keira Knightley in the film The Duchess, pictured left) was as well known for setting trends as her great-great-grand niece Princess Diana was in the 20th. Her style was captured by artists of the era and an opulent black creation of hers became known as the ‘Gainsborough’ hat in 1785.
PHOTO: PrESS ASSOCIATIOn/EMPICS EnTErTAInMEnT
FAMOUS HAT-WEArInG BrITS
PHOTO: © AF ArCHIVE/AlAMy
whole British millinery trade. A member of The Worshipful Company of Feltmakers, Rachel has created hats for such memorable occasions as The Queen’s 80th birthday Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s as well as her Diamond Wedding celebration. Rachel cites the Royal Family, and the Duchess of Cambridge in particular, as crucial for the comeback of millinery, describing her as a “wonderful ambassador for hat wearing for the next generation.” Meanwhile, Stockport Hat Works Museum – the only museum in the country dedicated to hats and hat making – is more popular than ever, and staff have noticed a distinct increase in headgear on their visitors. With hats undoubtedly in the ascendent, what marks Britain out on the world stage is the sheer number of hats we can call our own. When France has the beret, Spain has the Cordobés and Mexico has the sombrero as defining features, why do we have so many? Historian Matthew Ward professes an obsession with hats ranging from medieval liripipes to Georgian cocked hats, and believes that the variety of headgear in Britain reflects our multicultural background, with the legacy of such diversity ensuring Britain doesn’t have a single national form of dress, let alone a national hat, with our headgear reflecting this rich cultural heritage. A new breed of 21st-century hat-makers has picked up the millinery mantle and is succinctly making it their own. One of the shining stars is Piers Atkinson, whose background with Zandra Rhodes gave him an appreciation of colour and kitsch that has been featured everywhere from Italian Vogue to Tatler. His surreal creations – giant cherries being a best seller – have graced the heads of everyone from Kate Moss to Dame Shirley Bassey who wore one of his hats to Ascot. Atkinson uses established techniques such as wood blocking and hand sewing to create contemporary pieces that have a basis in tradition.
tHe royal meWs Windsor castle
Historic castle Photographer: Edward Staines
royal palace Photographer: Peter Smith
official residence of tHe Queen Open daily, 09:45 â€“17:15 (last admission 16:00) Castle closed 29 March and until 13:00 on 31 March State Apartments closed 10 April
A ticket to the Castle includes the special exhibition The Queen: Portraits of a Monarch.
Book in advance at www.royalcollection.org.uk or call +44 (0)20 7766 7304
Reigning Queens (Royal Edition): Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. ÂŠ The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2012
Capital Visit Britain’s oldest brewery or the site where the Magna Carta was signed; see the world’s longest pier or the oldest electric railway; walk in the footsteps of Romans or ‘take the waters’ in The Pantiles – remarkably, you can do all of this within one hour of London WORDS Chris Fautley
phOtO: © iStOck
very day, huge numbers of travellers converge on London by train. From all points of the compass, railway lines come together in the capital as spokes to a bicycle wheel’s centre. Of course, what goes in must come out, which means all those trains on their return journeys bring a plethora of historic places within an hour or so’s reach of the capital. They include fine cities, such as Canterbury, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mention Canterbury, and it conjures up images of its great cathedral; the city’s history, however, started long before it was built. To the Romans it was Durovernum Cantiacorum, ‘the town by the marshes’. Little trace remains of the Roman town walls (they formed part of the ruined Norman castle), but the medieval successors that we see today follow their path. Of the seven original gates, the West Gate, probably dating from the late 14th century, is the only survivor. The cathedral, however, is not the city’s only site of religious significance. Beyond the walls lie the fine remains
The Royal Pavilion in Brighton is a former royal residence (now a public building). It was built in 1787 as a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales
It didnâ€™t need Nash to attract the cognoscenti to Brighton: George IV made a good job of that when he decided to settle there, his legacy being the Royal Pavilion
in Kent. The assertion that the bridge was built without nails or pegs is similarly without foundation. At the Backs’ northern end is the 1831 Bridge of Sighs, linking two parts of St John’s College. It has little to compare with its Venetian counterpart save that it is enclosed. King’s College Chapel merits a particular mention if only through the sheer tenacity of its builders. Work commenced in 1446 under the auspices of Henry VI, the college’s founder; it was to be more than a century before it was completed. The result is a magnificent example of the Perpendicular style and reputedly the world’s largest fan vault. The chapel is famous for its Christmas Eve service of nine lessons and carols transmitted worldwide by broadcasters – including more than 300 in the US. Peterhouse, founded in 1284, is the oldest college. Its proper title is St Peter’s College (never Peterhouse College). The Cambridge University Press, meanwhile, founded in 1534, is the world’s oldest publishing house. The university also has its own botanic garden, established in 1846 and home to more than 8,000 species. Oxford’s botanic garden, with 5,000 species, can’t quite match that. But, founded in 1621, it is Britain’s oldest. Entire books must have been written about Oxford’s university architecture, whose examples include almost every style from medieval onwards. University College is the oldest, its origins stretching back to the 13th century – although its architecture is largely 17th century. Distinguished alumni (known as Univites) include Shelley, Clement Attlee and Bill Clinton. Christ Church (known as The House) is almost certainly the most famous. As well as the largest dining hall it has, in Tom Quad, the largest quadrangle. Its chapel dates from the 12th century and stands where the city’s patron saint, St Frideswide, was buried. The chapel also doubles as Oxford’s cathedral – a status assumed in 1542. It is one of Britain’s smallest.
Above: Shopping in Canterbury's cobbled backstreets, with the cathedral tower illuminated at twilight. Facing page, clockwise from top left: Students' bicycles outside King's College in Cambridge; ceiling and organ of King's College Chapel; field of marigolds grown on the Court Lees Estate, Badlesmere Faversham
of St Augustine’s Abbey, established in AD598 and burial place of ancient Kentish kings. Greyfriars Chapel, meanwhile, was part of England’s first Franciscan priory. Eastbridge Hospital (hospital as in hospitable place) serves as home to a number of elderly residents. It was founded during the 12th century as a place of shelter for pilgrims. Perhaps Rupert Brooke was having a bad day when he observed that “Cambridge people rarely smile” for the city’s eye-popping architecture and riverside setting are sufficient to cheer the gloomiest of souls. Less than an hour north of London, Cambridge is noted for its fine college buildings, many being separated from the River Cam by a lawned stretch of riverbank known as the Backs. Cambridge also has an interesting line in bridges. The Mathematical Bridge at Queens’ College crosses the Cam at the Backs’ southern end. Dating from 1749 (and rebuilt twice since), tradition wrongly says that it was designed by Isaac Newton (he died in 1727). Its true designer was William Etheridge, also responsible for Ramsgate harbour,
It’s a shade over an hour from London to Faversham, in whose long-vanished abbey King Stephen and his wife, Matilda, were buried. This Kentish creekside market town has more than 400 listed buildings – Faversham Creek, leading to the sea three miles away, having very much driven the town’s story, particularly for the industries that depended upon it. Among these is Shepherd Neame brewery – Britain’s oldest. Established in 1698, it has a visitor centre and regularly runs tours and tastings. To learn precisely what sparging and trub might be, this is the place. Faversham is also famous for gunpowder, first manufactured here in 1573; there were once six factories. Were it not for Faversham gunpowder, the face of modern Britain may have been quite different for it was used to clear paths to build railways and canals. Later, high explosives such as TNT were manufactured here. Explosives production ceased in 1934, although Chart Gunpowder Mills, the world’s oldest, have been restored. www.britain-magazine.com
phoToS: © iSToCk/ViSiTBRiTain/DanieL BoSwoRTh
To the Romans it was Durovernum Cantiacorum, ‘the town by the marshes’. Little trace remains of the Roman town walls, but the medieval successors that we see today follow their path
B R I TT E N lives here 2013
Visit Aldeburgh Music during the centenary year of the UK’s greatest composer – Benjamin Britten www.aldeburgh.co.uk/britten
Ham House and Garden One of London's best kept secrets... A place where you can escape from the city. An idyllic stroll along the River Thames from Richmond. Ham Street, Ham, Richmond-upon-Thames, TW10 7RS
020 8940 1950 www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hamhouse Registered charity No. 205846.
March – October Mondays to Saturdays 10am to 5pm Sundays and Bank Holidays 2 to 5pm
November to February Mondays to Saturdays 10am to 4.30pm Sundays and Bank Holidays 2 to 4.30pm
Entry charges: Adults £1.50, Discounts 75p, Children (18 & under) FREE, Season Tickets £5 & £2.50
Museum Street, Saﬀron Walden, Essex, CB10 1JL. Tel: 01799 510333
www.saﬀronwaldenmuseum.org www.twitter.com/SW_Museum www.facebook.com/SaﬀronWaldenMuseum 82 britain
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here will be found all the glories of the British seaside. Fairground rides, fish and chips, a pier... Brighton once had two, but the West pier fell prey to a combination of fire and storms Dudley Lord North, an English nobleman, can scarcely have imagined what he was starting when, in 1606, he stumbled across a spring near what is now Tunbridge Wells, in Kent. Indulging of the iron-rich water, he lauded what he perceived to be its health-giving properties. Word spread, and the great and the good flocked to the new town that grew around the spring – anxious to take the waters. By Georgian times it was the place to be seen socially, not least because the great dandy Richard ‘Beau’ Nash had appointed himself master of ceremonies – a role he already enjoyed at Bath. A day would typically be spent promenading, dancing, taking coffee and gathering at the fine assembly rooms. The centre of life was a street known as The Pantiles, named after its square, tile-shaped paving that was baked in a pan. The Pantiles is a fine colonnaded thoroughfare; buildings worth looking out for include the old assembly rooms, (numbers 40-46) and the Corn Exchange; musicians serenaded promenaders from the balcony of number 43. During the summer, it is still possible to take the waters in The Pantiles, for which a small charge is made – not for the water, but the services of the costumed dipper who serves it. Guided tours are usually available, taking in the fine architecture that developed as a result of the town’s fame. Alternatively, a ten-minute walk from The Pantiles leads to www.britain-magazine.com
the Spa Valley Railway, a five-mile steam heritage line through the Kentish countryside. It did not need Nash to attract the cognoscenti to Brighton: George IV made a thoroughly good job of that when he decided to settle there, his legacy being the onion-domed Royal Pavilion. The city – more correctly the city of Brighton and Hove – is as little as 52 minutes from the capital; small wonder that it is known as London-by-the-Sea. Here will be found all the glories of the British seaside. Fairground rides, fish and chips, a pier... Brighton once had two, but the West Pier fell prey to a combination of fire and storms. All that is left is a truncated section incorporating the remains of a concert hall. Regardless of that, it does still mount one of the greatest free shows in Britain when, during the winter, as many as 40,000 starlings perform their stunning murmations as dusk falls. The city is also home to Volk’s Railway, the world’s oldest electric railway and the brainchild of inventor Magnus Volk. Opened in 1883, it trundles for a mile along the seafront during summer months. Literature lovers, meanwhile, may retrace the footsteps of Pinkie Brown and Kolly Kibber from Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock. Not to be outdone, Southend-on-Sea in Essex also offers the trappings of a popular day-trippers’ resort. Its star attraction is its pier, at 2,158m (7,080ft) the world’s
Above: Row of brightly coloured beach huts on the seafront at Brighton, East Sussex. Over: Sun setting over pretty cottages in Faversham
longest; just as well as it also has the longest pier railway, although walking is still an option. If that builds a healthy appetite, then three stops London-bound on the train leads to Leigh-on-Sea. It’s an old fishing village, the quarter to the south of the railway retaining much of its original charm. Leigh is famed for its seafood, particularly shellfish – and especially cockles. In East Sussex, it’s hard to imagine how so much is crammed into the small county town of Lewes. A two motte, Norman castle (the only one similar is Lincoln); the remains of an 11th-century priory that was once one of England’s largest; Anne of Cleves House – part of her divorce settlement from Henry VIII (she didn’t live there); a battlefield where, in 1264, Henry III was defeated; the Greenwich meridian; and a world-famous association with bonfire, Protestant martyrs and Guy Fawkes night. Like many early saints St Alban died for his cause, thus becoming Britain’s first Christian martyr. He was a victim of the Romans in their city of Verulamium and it wasn't long before a shrine appeared near his burial place. On this site northwest of London, soon to be known as St Albans, were subsequently built a Saxon church and a Benedictine abbey that eventually became St Albans Cathedral. It basks in the glow of being Britain’s oldest place of continuous Christian worship. After their conquest of Britain in AD43 the Romans, nevertheless, made their mark in what was, at 200 acres, Britain’s third largest Roman town. Much has been excavated, including the theatre – the only one in Britain revealed in its entirety – and part of the city wall. St Albans also witnessed two battles on its outskirts: the first in 1455, followed by a second in 1461 when Margaret of Anjou defeated the Yorkists on February 17. Colchester in Essex became Camulodunum, Britain’s first Roman town, after it was captured from the local leader Cunobelin (Shakespeare’s Cymbeline). Its city walls, at almost two miles, and gateway – Britain’s largest – remain. The Norman castle is reputedly built over the temple of Claudius. Its walls are 3.7m (12ft) thick and the keep is 50 per cent larger than the White Tower at the Tower of London. Southwest of London, a one and a half mile walk from the station at Egham in Surrey leads to a meadow on the banks of the Thames, just downstream from Windsor. The surrounding area has become a focus for memorials marking man’s struggle for liberty. The Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial commemorates 20,456 Allied airmen and women of World War II who have no known grave; while the Kennedy Memorial, set in an acre of land donated to the United States, marks the assassination of the statesman in 1963. Yet long before all that, this seemingly modest site bore witness to one of the most momentous events in England’s history. It was to sculpt forever the English way of life, its principles becoming the cornerstone of individual freedom and liberty throughout much of the world. It was here, in Runnymede, that King John signed Magna Carta.
For more information and contact details for all the places mentioned in this feature, please visit the BRITAIN website at www.britain-magazine.com
photo: © istock
WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE? Been there? Try these alternatives, all an hour or so from London: J seen Roman colchester and st Albans? try LuLLingstone roman viLLa, a short walk from Eynsford station in kent. J if you want a riverside setting but less architecture than Faversham, tHe Historic DockyarD cHatHam (chatham station, two miles) was once an important base for the Royal Navy. J For more castles, don't forget WinDsor, rocHester, anD tiLbury Fort on the thames estuary and famously visited by Elizabeth i. J Fancy another cathedral? eLy (cambridgeshire), dating from 1083, is just over an hour from London. J HenLey-on-tHames, with its Georgian-fronted main street, could just be the 21st century's answer to Beau Nash's tunbridge Wells: its annual regatta is one of
Britain's great social events. there's also the River & Rowing Museum and boat trips. J instead of oxford and cambridge, try a different seat of learning. eton coLLege offers tours at selected times during the year. (stations include Windsor & Eton Riverside and Windsor & Eton central). J Not keen on the seaside? head to the countryside instead. box HiLL is a 900acre National trust site in surrey. At 182m (596ft) it is one of southeast England's highest points, with views in excess of 25 miles. particularly good for wildlife lovers and walkers. (station: Box hill & Westhumble, one-and-a-half miles). J knoLe is a former palace of the Archbishops of canterbury, and one of England's finest treasure houses. particularly noted for its connections with Vita sackville-West, it has a handy 365 rooms – one for each day of the year.
Saffron Walden Essential Essex
We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful town. For more information, please visit the Tourist Information Centre 1 Market Place, or telephone us on
Over 400 years ago Robert Cecil, chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, built this fine Jacobean House. His decendants, the Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury, who still live in and care for the House today, welcome you to visit. Jacobean House Tudor Old Palace Knot Garden Formal Garden Sculpture Exhibition Woodland Garden Political History Fine Paintings and Furniture Historic Parkland Coach House Restaurant Gift Shop Stable Yard Shops Hatfield Park Farm Bloody Hollow Play Area House, Park and Gardens open Easter Saturday to 30th September. 25 mins train journey from London Kings Cross. Free Parking - Sat Nav AL9 5NX Please see the website for more details or call 01707 287010
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It is 100 years since the suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of the kingâ€™s horse at the Epsom Derby. She was one of many remarkable characters. But just who were these women who dedicated their lives to changing the course of British history? WORDS Caroline ellis
ILLUSTRATION: JANE WEBSTER
The Good FiGhT
Right: Vintage photo circa 1912 of British suffragette leader and political activist Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928). Far right: Suffragettes march in London
his year we will commemorate the centenary of the most notorious event in the battle for women’s rights. On 4 June 1913 suffragette Emily Davison stepped in front of the king’s horse at the Epsom Derby and died four days later. Her death shocked a country that had been debating for over a century whether women should vote for Parliament. Mary Wollstonecraft may have written A Vindication of the Rights of Women as early as 1792, but the typical Victorian view was still that women were The Angel in the House, the title of a popular poem. So women fought to have a say in their children and property and to be able to go to university or enter a profession. But the symbol of their struggle was the right to vote. While the number of men who could vote increased through the 1800s, women were excluded. Their goal was therefore universal suffrage – ‘Votes for All’. The most tireless campaigner was Millicent Garrett Fawcett. She and her sister Elizabeth were born and brought up in the Suffolk fishing town of Aldeburgh, the first town to elect a female mayor. This was Elizabeth, who as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson had become Britain’s first female doctor before retiring to her home town. Her sister Millicent was based in Kensington, a fashionable area of London with attractive villas around the new museums. In 1865 she married the Radical Liberal Member of Parliament Henry Fawcett and became a part of the influential Kensington Society. They met at 44 Phillimore Gardens, one of several suffrage sites that can still be seen in the area. The society delivered the first petition for women’s suffrage – the vote – to Parliament and was the catalyst for many moresocieties, which later joined under Mrs Fawcett’s leadership as the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) in 1897.
The National Union believed in the constitutional route to the vote and campaigned peacefully. Their work was well funded and they lobbied Parliament through petitions, public meetings, pamphlets and posters. They believed “women’s suffrage is for the common good of all” and Millicent Fawcett spread the message throughout the UK. Over 50,000 women and men belonged to the National Union in 449 branches throughout the country. The greatest event of their campaign was the 1908 march through London. Over 10,000 women marched from the Embankment to the Albert Hall, carrying 700 banners. Women’s suffrage supporters had often been jeered by men, but this procession impressed and gained their respect. The Observer newspaper quoted a watching regimental major: “Fine lot o’sportswomen; I wish’em luck!” The report concluded with the words, “the Women made London their own”. But many women wanted more than respect, they wanted progress – and that came from Manchester. Emmeline Goulden was born in Manchester’s Moss Side in 1858 and married barrister Richard Pankhurst. He was a strong supporter of women’s rights and Emmeline became active in the suffrage movement. On Richard’s death in 1898, she and her daughters became a leading force for votes for women. In those key years they lived in Nelson Street in Manchester. Their home is now the Pankhurst Centre and this Victorian villa in the suburb of Chorlton on Medlock contains a small museum and centre for women. Frustrated by the lack of progress towards the vote, Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1903. This was a militant organisation, and its motto was ‘Deeds not Words’. It was the WSPU who were dubbed ‘suffragettes’, while the peaceful campaigners were known as ‘suffragists’.
Millicent was based in Kensington, a fashionable area of London with attractive villas around the new museums
DID YOU KNOW?
PHOTOS: © LEBRECHT MUSIC AND ARTS PHOTO LIBRARY/ALAMY/GL ARCHIVE/ INTERFOTO
Writer Mary Wollstonecraft has been called The
Mother of Feminism. She was also the mother of Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. The first woman to vote in a parliamentary election in Britain was the Manchester shopkeeper Lily Maxwell in 1867. Her name was on the voters’ register as a ratepayer and she was cheered at the polling station. This loophole was quickly closed. In 1909 Bristol suffragette Theresa Garnett was sent to prison for horse whipping the anti-suffrage MP Winston Churchill, declaring "Take that in the name of the insulted women of England". Not all women supported the vote. The ‘AntiSuffrage League’ said: “We believe in the division of functions as the keystone of civilisation”. Women also wanted freedom from their corsets and advocated bloomers and unlaced underwear. Many suffragettes were keen cyclists, believing it was “a woman’s right to dress for an activity". Millicent Fawcett’s National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies is now The Fawcett Society, which continues to campaign for women.
The suffragettes first made an impact at a Liberal Party Rally at the Manchester Free Trade Hall. Built on the site of the infamous Peterloo Massacre, this magnificent building is now Manchester’s only five-star hotel. In 1905 Mrs Pankhurst’s daughter Christabel and ex-mill girl Annie Kenney heckled the speakers and were arrested. They refused to pay their fines and were sent to prison. This was the start of a very different type of campaign. Politicians could not ignore suffragettes who smashed windows, set fire to letter boxes or chained themselves to the railings at Parliament. Some of their tactics were ingenious. They attempted to post themselves and disrupted the 1911 census. On the night of the census Emily Davison hid in a cupboard in the House of Commons, and the census had to record this as her home address. Emmeline Pankhurst was a charismatic leader and a fine speaker. She said to her troops: “The argument of the broken pane of glass is the most valuable argument in modern politics”. Many argued that this new militancy was turning people against votes for women. Arthur Conan Doyle, for instance, condemned it as “malicious monkey tricks”. But in the early years the suffragettes drew attention back to the women’s cause. Millicent Fawcett herself said, “I hope the old-fashioned suffragists will stand by them. [The suffragettes] have done more during the last 12 months than we have been able to accomplish in the last 12 years.” Unfortunately it seemed that the more militant the suffragettes became, the more reluctant Parliament was to give women the vote. The Morning Post newspaper summed up this feeling in 1912. “Nothing could indicate more plainly their lack of fitness to be entrusted with the exercise of political power.” The women’s prisons were now filling with suffragettes and Mrs Pankhurst and her daughters were among those who went on hunger strike for better conditions. The government did not want martyrs for the cause, so passed what became known, because of the way it toyed with prisoners, as the Cat and Mouse Act. Hunger strikers were
Above: A suffragette meeting. Left: Police officers free suffragettes who had chained themselves to the railings of No 10 Downing Street
Left: Five leading suffragettes (from left) Lady Constance Lytton, Annie Kenney, Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Christabel Pankhurst and Sylvia Pankhurst. Below: Poster for rally by National Union of Women's Suffrage at Albert Hall, London, 13 June 1908
force fed, then released before they became too ill. When their health had improved they were rearrested. The suffragettes provided a number of houses for convalescence and comradeship. Mouse Castle in Kensington’s Campden Hill is now a listed building, while the Sussex farmhouse of Backseltown in Henfield was for ‘country mice’. At Eagle House near Bath recuperating suffragettes were encouraged to plant a tree in the grounds. This became known as Annie’s Arboretum, after frequent visitor Annie Kenney. The most militant campaigners were imprisoned many times. Emily Wilding Davison was one of these ‘guerrilla’ suffragettes. She had funded herself through first-class honours degrees at Oxford and London universities and, after joining the WSPU in 1906, soon became a full time campaigner. It is still not known if she intended to become a martyr for her cause at the 1913 Derby. Many of her possessions are held by The Women’s Library in London, including the purse she carried on that day. Its poignant contents included a return rail ticket. Many believe she intended to pin a flag on one of the horses and it was just chance that it was the king’s horse who struck her. Her death shocked many, but she was also sent hate mail as she lay unconscious in hospital. In less than a year, international events overtook the campaign. When war was declared against Germany in 1914 the government immediately negotiated with Mrs Pankhurst to support the war. Only six days after the outbreak it agreed to release all suffragette prisoners and fund a patriotic rally with the slogan ‘Man must fight and women must work’. And women did work, from factories and farming to transport and offices. Women’s work in the
First World War was one of the factors that changed the attitude of the government, but perhaps the vital one was the continuing industry of Millicent Fawcett. The National Union had also stopped campaigning at the outbreak of war, but unlike the Pankhursts, did not actively recruit for the armed forces. Instead they formed political alliances and carefully negotiated with the government. In 1918, Mrs Fawcett accepted the compromise of the vote for women over 30 who were householders or married and then universal suffrage in the Equal Franchise Act of 1928. She died in 1929, soon after the building of Millicent Fawcett Hall in Marsham Street in Westminster, an educational and training centre for women. The hall is now part of Westminster School, but you can still see the foundation stone laid by the then Dame Millicent Fawcett. After 1918 Emmeline Pankhurst changed the Women’s Social and Political Union into the broader Women’s Party, to promote women’s equality throughout life. She died in 1928 and is honoured by a statue in London’s Victoria Tower Gardens. In 1999 an unusual ceremony took place in the Houses of Parliament. A commemorative plaque was secretly placed on the door of a broom cupboard. It was of course the cupboard in which Emily Davison defied the government at the 1911 census, and the plaque also recalls her death: ‘By such means was democracy won for the people of Britain’.
PHOTOS: © MARY EVANS PICTURE LIBR ARY/ALAMY/ PICTORIAL PRESS LTD
Many believe Emily Davison intended to pin a flag on one of the horses and it was just chance that it was the king’s horse who struck her
To read more about great British women visit www.britainmagazine.com and the English Heritage website: www.englishheritage.org.uk/discover/people-and-places/womens-history www.britain-magazine.com
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Trawl for shellfish with a local fisherman before sampling the freshly caught catch of the day, taste whisky on the Isle of Skye, travel along the back roads of Scotland’s west coast– home to some of the most dramatic highland scenery and enjoy local produce on Scottish flavoured menus.
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No visit to Britain is complete without experiencing this ‘hidden gem’. In the heart of the beautiful English countryside, 40 minutes from Stratford upon Avon,Warwick and Oxford, 90 minutes from London. See www.sulgravemanor.org.uk for opening times. Pre-booked groups are welcomed any day.
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For your perfect getaway
What do you want from a getaway? To escape to a different world without having to go round it? To enjoy a choice of things to do, surrounded by beautiful scenery? To sail from coast to coast, or to explore on foot, at your own pace? To do all of this and more, and then to relax into our warm welcome?
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Visit Weyhill Craft & Design Ce www.fairgroundcr ntre, immortalised in Ha aft.co.uk rdy of Casterbridge as â€™s The Mayor We where Michael He ydon Priors, nch wife (and both par ard sold his ties were happy with the result!). Itâ€™s one of the ma ny lovely places to visit in Test Valley.
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Cornwall ....so unexpectedly different
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Britain’s Ten Things
...you never knew about The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge The public lives of Prince William and his wife Catherine are well documented. We hunt down 10 facts you may not know about the young royals
Catherine is distantly related to Prince William – they are 12th cousins once removed through Sir Thomas Leighton, an Elizabethan soldier, diplomat and, for 40 years, the Governor of Guernsey.
The couple met when they both lived in St Salvator’s Hall at St Andrew’s University, which has something of a mythical reputation for matchmaking. William graduated with a 2:1 in Geography and Catherine with a 2:1 in History of Art.
Making an impression
The see-through dress which sparked William’s interest in Catherine when she wore it at a university fashion show in 2002 was auctioned in 2011 for £78,000.
William’s wild side
William and Catherine became engaged in October 2010 in Kenya during a 10-day trip to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to celebrate William passing his RAF helicopter search and rescue course. William has often expressed his love for the continent and is deeply involved in Tusk Trust, a charity set up in 1990 to help to protect African wildlife.
PHOTO: © PRESS ASSOCIATION
Prince William revealed he’d been carrying his mother Princess Diana’s £28,500 engagement ring around in a rucksack for the duration of their African holiday, trying to decide the best time and place to propose to Catherine.
Meeting the family During their engagement interview Prince William stated
that it was at Peter Phillips’ wedding reception that Catherine officially met with The Queen and had an extended conversation with her.
Wedding tradition taken from an old English rhyme (‘Something olde, something new, something borrowed, something blue’) dictating the four objects that a bride should add to her wedding outfit or might carry with her on her big day for luck was followed by Catherine on her wedding day. For ‘something blue’ she had a blue ribbon sewn into the interior of her Sarah Burton-designed dress.
What’s in a name?
Due to titled members of the Royal Family officially having no surname, neither does Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. If a surname is needed, Catherine will either use Cambridge or Mountbatten-Windsor. Prince William is known as Flight Lieutenant William Wales in his military life.
The couple’s fi rst child, due in July, will be third in line to the throne, regardless of its sex. In October 2011 the government announced that the 16 Commonwealth countries where The Queen is head of state had accepted changes to the rights of succession, ending centuries of male primogeniture.
The last time a still-serving monarch met their greatgrandchild born in direct succession to the crown was 120 years ago when Queen Victoria met Edward VIII.
For more facts about the Royal Family and British traditions, visit www.britain-magazine.com Below: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child will be third in line to the throne
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