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Bringing the past to life
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Inside William and Kate's London home
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EDITOR'S LETTER We’re celebrating here at BRITAIN after winning Best Holiday Magazine at the British Travel Awards. I would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who voted for us – the British Travel Awards winners are chosen purely on the basis of a public ballot so our victory is a tribute to the magazine’s popularity among its readership. We have a seasonal treat of an issue for you, too, with some wonderful ideas on where to visit in Britain during wintertime. Escape the cold with the bright lights of London’s top department stores (page 47), discover the delights of Prince George’s new home at Kensington Palace (page 15), or curl up in front of the fire at a traditional pub (page 31). We also have the first in a new series on the National Trust (page 38), this issue looking at some of the country’s best monuments and historic sites. From Avebury to Hadrian’s Wall, the atmospheric light of winter brings a unique magic to these ancient places. Lastly, to celebrate Homecoming Scotland 2014, we whet your appetite with a look at the famous Burns Night (page 98) and bring you a special free Scotland supplement. Jessica Tooze, Editor
BRITAIN Cotswolds THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE
TRAVEL CULTURE HERITAGE STYLE
CONTENTS VOLUME 82 ISSUE 1
THE LADY WITH THE LAMP
HERE'S TO PERFECT PUBS
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Bringing the past to life
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Inside William and Kate's London home
Smugglers, adventure and romance
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Kensington Palace, home to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
From the pretty towns of Chichester and Arundel to the rolling South Downs, West Sussex is a county of grand stately homes and ancient harbours locked in time. Surrounded by gardens and parkland in the centre of London, Kensington Palace is brimming with royal treasures.
Our look at Great Britons past and present continues with the heroine of the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale. No one does pubs quite like Britain and we have hunted down some of the country’s best. In the first of a new series exploring the treasures of the National Trust, we visit some wonderful monuments and historic sites. BRITAIN 3
FEATURES 47 54
THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE
Shop 'til you drop at the glittering bastions of London's department stores.
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DAPHNE DU MAURIER'S CORNWALL From Jamaica Inn to Frenchman’s Creek, some of Daphne du Maurier's most treasured tales were inspired by her beloved Cornwall.
A QUESTION OF SPORT
The history of some of the world’s favourite sports and pastimes has been shaped in Britain. We find out how the Great Fire of London started and spread, and look at the legacy of the disaster.
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Four of the most magnificent castles in and around the Cotswolds bring the past to life.
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A thatched cottage in the lovely coastal village of Bosham, near Chichester
The South Downs flow across tranquil West Sussex, where the pretty towns of Chichester and Arundel make perfect bases from which to explore the countyâ€™s stately homes, gardens and Roman ruins WORDS CHRIS FAUTLEY
Devil's Dyke is a beautiful deep valley on the South Downs Way
The South Downs National Park straddles the county and overflows into East Sussex and Hampshire photoS: © Sean Gladwell/parkerphotoGraphy/Steve vidler/alamy/national truSt/howard taylor/loop imaGeS
est Sussex is a serene county of grand stately homes and charming villages, soaring churches and cathedrals, and harbours locked in time. The South Downs, drifting east to west across the county’s centre, have been naturally sculpted into author Rudyard Kipling’s “blunt, bowheaded, whale-backed Downs” – a lazily undulating chalk countryside of wildflowers and cropped grassland. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the South Downs National Park, which straddles the county and overflows into East Sussex and Hampshire. It is one of England’s newer national parks, and many of West Sussex’s finest features lie within its 631 square miles. Some are natural, some man-made; others, like Devil’s Dyke on the county’s eastern border, are more mysterious. Legend claims that the dyke, in reality a dry valley, was the work of the Devil. Irritated at the arrival of Christianity, he started to dig a channel in the dead of night through the downland towards the sea. His aim was to cause a flood, but he was disturbed by lights in a nearby nunnery. The Devil fled, his deed unfinished.
Typical of the chalk downs, Devil’s Dyke is the deepest, longest and widest dry valley in Britain. At 712ft above sea level, it was described by the artist John Constable as “the grandest view in the world”. If the Devil singularly failed in his building endeavours, others fared rather better. Uppark House, 10 miles north-west of Chichester, is a red-brick mansion designed in the 17th century by William Talman (of Chatsworth and Burghley repute). Nursed back to health by the National Trust after a catastrophic fire in 1989, the house is noted for its fine Georgian interior. A shade to its north, the South Downs Way sidles across the landscape; man has been walking the course of this 100-mile flint and chalk trackway for more than 6,000 years. Crossing the breadth of the county it leads, 10 miles east of Uppark, to Duncton Hill. Almost 850ft above sea level, this is among the county’s highest viewpoints and features in Hilaire Belloc’s work The Four Men. Belloc loved the simple pleasures of
West Sussex and spent many years of his life at Shipley, 12 miles away. Meanwhile, pleasures of a more grandiose variety may be found at Petworth House, one of the south’s greatest properties. Although in the care of the National Trust, the mansion and 700-acre estate is still a family home. It was largely rebuilt towards the end of the 17th century, its architect anonymous to this day. One school of thought suggests that Petworth was never finished. At an impressive 322ft long, Petworth is a treasure house caressed by the northern folds of the National Park. Here lives the Trust’s greatest collection of artwork including pieces by Reynolds, Van Dyck and Turner, and carvings by Grinling Gibbons. Turner even had his own studio at the house, the 3rd Earl of Egremont (who then owned it) being his principal patron. The surrounding parkland, meanwhile, reflects some of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s best work. Brown might be the most famous 18th-century landscaper to have www.britain-magazine.com
Clockwise from main: Uppark House is home to a fine Georgian interior; a cottage in the curiously named Pinchnose Green in the West Sussex countryside; ceiling artwork above the Grand Staircase at Petworth House; rural beauty in the South Downs National Park
worked in the county, but there are other fine gardens too. Wakehurst Place is a 465-acre National Trust estate funded by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. Effectively their ‘estate in the country’, it is the Trust’s most visited property. While woodland, lakes and formal gardens complement an Elizabethan house, Wakehurst is, above all, famous for its Millennium Seed Bank. Here, seed from 10 per cent of the world’s species has been conserved. Nymans, a nod south west, is an estate bought during the late 19th century by the Messel family. Plant lovers through and through, they sought to develop the garden with plants from across the world. The estate’s mansion partly burned down
in 1947, but the portion that remains with its attendant ruins merely adds to the enchanting atmosphere. Heading towards the coast, Goodwood House is largely the work of James Wyatt and William Chambers. Bought in 1697 by Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond and illegitimate son of King Charles II, it was, nevertheless, the 3rd duke – also Charles – who commissioned most of what we see today. It is particularly noted for its fine French furniture. The 3rd duke’s enduring legacy extends beyond the house, however. For it was he who, in 1801, instigated the annual horse races on the adjacent downs. Traditionally known as Glorious Goodwood, they are held across five days each July and, along
Below: Nymans in the Sussex High Weald boasts a beautiful country garden
with events such as Cowes Week and Royal Ascot, form part of The Season. The oldest race is the Goodwood Cup, run since 1812. The town of Arundel has developed next to a gap in the Downs created by the River Arun. It is home to a rarity in West Sussex – a castle. This has been here since Norman times, although much of today’s building dates from the 18th and 19th centuries. The chapel at Arundel Castle, the Fitzalan Chapel, is of 14th-century origin and was built to be used by both the parish and the resident Fitzalan family. It was therefore divided in two (the chancel for the family, the nave for the parish). Post Reformation saw the unusual situation of the family portion of the
Fishbourne is famous for its mosaics, especially the Dolphin Mosaic that features Cupid riding a dolphin
Fishbourne is famous for its mosaics, especially the Dolphin Mosaic that features Cupid riding a dolphin. It comprises more than 300,000 tesserae. Such was the continuous process of evolution and improvement at the palace, new mosaics were even laid on top of old ones. The end came circa AD 295 when it was destroyed by fire. Tantalisingly, much more of the palace remains to be excavated but it lies beneath modern development. Chichester, the county town and Rome’s Noviomagus, is a couple of miles east. Few clues remain of its Roman past although, typically, the four principal streets – North Street, South Street, East Street and West Street – radiate at right angles from a central point. It is marked by a large market cross that dates from 1501. Chichester Cathedral is largely Norman, building work having commenced in 1075. It is said to have the only cathedral spire in England you can see from the sea. Those buried here include Gustav Holst, while among its many memorials is one to William Huskisson who has the unfortunate claim to fame of being the first person in Britain to be killed by a train. During the latter part of the 20th century, the cathedral gained a
Clockwise from top left: Glorious Goodwood; Fishbourne's Dolphin Mosaic; Arundel is arguably the prettiest town in West Sussex; Worthing Pier
reputation for acquiring modern artwork. There is older work, though – not least the Chichester Reliefs in the nave’s south aisle. These two carved stone panels date from at least 1160. Chichester Harbour, a shade west of the city, is one of Britain’s largest natural harbours and is home to more than 10,000 sailing vessels. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this serene world of creeks, inlets and tidal marsh is studded with waterside villages. Birdham marks
DID YOU KNOW?
J The only remaining
full-length seaside pleasure pier in West Sussex is at Worthing. It opened in 1862. J Worthing Pier holds annual Birdman competitions for unpowered human flight. Fancy dress is de rigueur: previous
entrants have included a cow on a skateboard. J The Saxon tower of Sompting village church has England's only example of a Rhenish (as in the Rhine) helm – a four-sided, pyramidal roof with diamond-shaped sides. J Devil’s Dyke was once served by a railway whose gradient reached a teeth-clenching 1 in 40. J The South Downs Way ascends and descends a total of more than 2.5 miles. J William Blake composed Jerusalem while living at Felpham, near Bognor Regis.
photoS: © graham prentice/terry matthewS/alamy/iStock
church remaining Catholic, with a wall being built to split the church in two. In 1879, the High Court upheld the view that the chancel should remain Catholic and independent of the now Protestant parish church. This has resulted in possibly the only church in Britain that is two in one. These days, railings and a glass screen have been substituted for the wall. The chapel is by tradition the burial place of the Dukes of Norfolk, whose home is the castle. The duke is the hereditary Earl Marshal of England, and is accordingly responsible for the coronation and funeral of the sovereign. That so many grand homes have been built is doubtless due in no small part to the county’s fine scenery. However, it was probably the site’s (then) proximity to the sea, rather than the beauty of the local surroundings, that led to Fishbourne Roman Palace being built. It was discovered in 1960 when a water main was being laid and dates from around AD 80. Believed to have been built for a local king, Cogidubnus, as a reward for collaborating with the Romans, it is Britain’s largest Roman building. It is also one of the few places in the world where an entire Roman garden has been re-created in situ.
From left to right: Chichester Cathedral; Dell Quay seen from Chichester Harbour with Trundle Hill and Goodwood behind; the spire of Holy Trinity church in Bosham, seen from Bosham Brook
Bosham is the most historic of Chichester harbour’s villages. Its church is at least 1,000 years old
PHOTOS: © VISIT BRITAIN/LESLEY PARDOE/ALAMY/ISLAWEK STASZCZUK
• STANDEN (pictured above), near East Grinstead, is a 19th-century country house that is a temple to the Arts & Crafts movement. The interior features work by William Morris. • BIGNOR ROMAN VILLA is noted for its fine mosaic pavements – particularly the depiction of an eagle carrying the shepherd Ganymede. • The WEALD & DOWNLAND OPEN AIR MUSEUM at Singleton celebrates downland life from the 1300s to the present day. More than 50 rescued buildings have been re-erected across the site.
• AMBERLEY MUSEUM & HERITAGE CENTRE is set in a former chalk quarry. It is dedicated to the industrial heritage of the South East, as well as telling the story of the old chalk pit. • RAF TANGMERE was one of the most famous Battle of Britain fighter bases. It has long since closed as an active RAF station, but there is an aviation museum at the former airfield. • CHANCTONBURY RING is an Iron Age hill fort, its form roughly marked by a circle of beech trees. Legend says the Devil may be summoned by dancing round it seven times.
the start of the now disused Chichester Canal, its reed-lined banks dotted with houseboats. A 14thcentury church oversees proceedings. Like Birdham, Apuldram and idyllic Dell Quay serve the thriving boating industry. West Itchenor, meanwhile, sits on a cusp of land where the Chichester Channel meets the Bosham Channel. The parish church of St Nicholas has been standing for more than 800 years. Its treasures include an octagonal 13th-century font. A seasonal foot ferry that has been plying its trade since at least the 1600s crosses Chichester Channel to Smugglers Lane Hard, half a mile distant, connecting West Itchenor with the village of Bosham. Bosham (pronounced ‘Bozzem’) is the most historic of the harbour’s villages. Its church, Holy Trinity, is at least 1,000 years old. The soon-to-be King Harold prayed here before departing for France in 1064, and the church’s glorious chancel dates from around the time of the Norman Conquest two years later. Holy Trinity even appears in the Bayeux Tapestry as part of the story of the invasion. Legend says that, even further back in time, the church bell was stolen by
raiding Vikings who were ambushed at West Itchenor – the heavy bell sinking to the bottom of the harbour in the ensuing melee. There are those who claim that on a still and silent night it may be heard tolling eerily from the depths. It was also at Bosham that King Canute made his attempt to halt the incoming tide in the 11th century. (Southampton stakes a claim to this event too.) Tradition says his daughter is buried in the churchyard. While Canute was unsuccessful in his quest to rule the waves, modern man fares no better. Twice a day the quayside and some of Bosham’s streets flood at high tide: innocuous-looking roads vanish beneath the water, together with carelessly parked vehicles. At the harbour mouth, West Wittering draws summer visitors anxious to enjoy its golden sandy beaches. During the winter months, it metamorphoses into a more peaceful place. And yet, throughout the seasons, the sea gnaws away – constantly shaping and reshaping the coastline. It’s an undramatic process – gentle, unhurried. Like the finest painter, Mother Nature meticulously puts her finishing touches to a marvellous work of art. When your canvas is the masterpiece that is West Sussex, it’s best to take it slowly.
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Surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens and sprawling parkland in the centre of London, Kensington Palace is an extraordinary treasure house brimming with royal history Words Martha alexander
photoS: © priSma Bildagentur ag-/peter Scholey/alamy/rune helleStad/corBiS
Previous page: A snow-topped Kensington Palace. Above: The approach to the palace's main entrance, on the building's east side. Facing page: The King's Gallery with its gilded ceiling and wealth of paintings
t might be large in stature, but Kensington Palace is also understated for a royal residence in England’s capital. There are few ornate features to the exterior and it is handsome, rather than beautiful. Given that it’s at the heart of London’s Hyde Park and surrounded by swarms of dog-walkers, joggers and picnickers, it’s surely one of the most accessible palaces in the world. Yet it is home to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their baby son, Prince George. The family is the latest in a long line of royal residents that dates back to 1689, when King William III and his wife Queen Mary II came to the throne. Traditionally, Whitehall Palace was where the monarch would reside. But King William decided to part with convention, not least because the riverside location of Whitehall seemed likely to exacerbate the chronic asthma from which he suffered. Instead, he purchased a Jacobean mansion that stood in what was then the village of Kensington, outside of London’s smog. Nottingham House was bought for £20,000, and this was how Kensington Palace began its life. “The first thing you see at Kensington is a confusing assemblage of different ranges,” says Lee Prosser, Buildings Curator at Historic Royal Palaces. “Thanks to the piecemeal way it’s been built, it’s not architecturally coherent.” Within weeks of William and Mary moving to Kensington, Sir Christopher Wren was instructed to enlarge the house so as to reflect the royal couple’s status and added pavilions onto the four corners. They have been rebuilt now but how they look today reflects Wren’s original work. Wren also built the long range to the west where The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge now live.
The King’s Gallery – a long room on the first floor – was built to display King William’s paintings and fine furniture. The Queen’s Chamber, a wing to the north of the palace, was added for Queen Mary in the early 1690s as a place where she could house all of her treasures. It includes The Queen’s Gallery, which would have been a place to display unusual and exotic artefacts, while The Queen’s Drawing Room is filled with her vast collection of porcelain. Both William and Mary died at Kensington Palace: Mary of smallpox in 1694 and William eight years later after falling ill following a riding accident. With no children to succeed him, the throne passed to William’s sister-inlaw, Anne. She and her husband, Prince George of Denmark, moved to Kensington Palace and her additions to the gardens created a much-coveted aesthetic. The stunning Orangery that Sir John Vanbrugh built in 1704 to house her exotic plants is the ultimate example of Queen Anne style. Inside, the palace is largely decorated with flamboyant artwork created by William Kent during the reign of King George I (who succeeded Queen Anne in 1714). Unfortunately George only lived for a few years to appreciate the work and died in 1727. So it was King George II and his wife Queen Caroline who enjoyed the fruits of Kent’s labours during their long residency at the palace. At this time it entered its heyday and was the centre of court life. Queen Caroline, who was widely believed to be more intelligent and refined than her boorish husband, was responsible for transforming the gardens. Her style became known as the English Landscape Movement.
The King’s Gallery – a long room on the first floor – was built to display King William III’s paintings and fine furniture
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Above: The Sunken Garden in bloom
“She swept away the old-fashioned parterres and created a modern style with large open vistas,” explains Prosser. “Hyde Park is basically the garden for the palace; we don’t always think of it like that now as it is a municipal space, but avenues of trees radiate from the palace. The round pond was designed to complement it.” Although famous for its royal residents, Kensington Palace has also been home to more humble folk with tales to tell. William Hester was the first ‘royal rat killer’ employed at the palace during William and Mary’s residence to address the unglamorous vermin problem. Hester wore a crimson and black velvet coat that was embroidered with crowns, rats and wheat sheaves. Another unusual character is Peter the Wild Boy, a feral child found living in the woods near Hanover in Germany and brought to live with King George I – as a human pet. “He wore a collar to prevent him from getting lost, which survives today,” says Prosser. “It said something along the lines of ‘please return me to the king’ on it.” Peter’s image features on the mural on the King’s Stairs where courtiers would ascend to enter the State Rooms. Prosser points out Queen Caroline’s hairdresser in the painted crowds, and on the ceiling the chubby face of William Kent, who was “fond of mutton chops”. How far courtiers were permitted to venture into the series of rooms that unfolds at the top of the stairs
depended on how important they were. The first room is the Presence Chamber, notable for having a gilded, but threadbare, armchair flanked by busts of King George II and Queen Caroline. A painted ceiling by Kent is one of the first examples of the grotesque style in the country. The Cupola Room is the centrepiece of the palace and, explains Prosser, the “footprint of that pre-palatial building”. Its function was circulation space for courtiers. One of the most thrilling rooms is the Council Chamber, which contains an extraordinary flat-fronted ‘court mantua’ dress from 1750. Worn by female courtiers in these very rooms, such dresses seem cartoonish and comically wide to a contemporary audience. “Court mantuas were a means of showing off silk,” says Prosser. “They were only seen at court – ordinary women would not have worn them in the street. In the outside world, fashion moved on. However, court dress wasn’t abolished until 1958.” The King’s Gallery is the climax of the whole suite of rooms: if courtiers made it this far, they were very much in favour with the king. It is one of the most impressive places in the palace. The gallery was used for exercise but also contains paintings including a copy of Van Dyck’s portrait of King Charles I on horseback. The palace fell out of royal favour during the reign of King George III who left it for lesser royals and courtiers to reside in. But by 1798 George III’s fourth son Edward, Duke of Kent, lived at the palace. His daughter,
photo: © istock
Although famous for its royal residents, Kensington Palace has also been home to more humble folk with tales to tell
London’s Palaces Alexandrina Victoria, was born in his apartments on 24 May 1819 and christened in the Cupola Room, using a punchbowl from the Tower of London. That daughter spent the next 18 years at the palace. She loved the building but had an unhappy time thanks to a pushy mother and scheming courtiers. Then on 20 June 1837 Victoria woke up to find that she was queen; her uncle King William IV died with no living legitimate issue. An exhibition – Victoria Revealed – dedicated to Queen Victoria’s life at the palace runs through the apartments that she once lived in and includes her toys and dolls. There is an amazingly intimate portrait of Victoria by Franz Winterhalter that was exclusively for her husband Prince Albert; her shoulders are bare and her hair is down. “This was very risqué,” comments Prosser. “The relationship was a love match: Victoria wrote how Albert would place her stockings on her, which says it all.” Dresses worn by Queen Victoria are also on display: the black dress she wore when her uncle died and her white wedding dress have been beautifully preserved. Towards the end of the 19th century, when Queen Victoria’s daughters Beatrice and Louise were living at the
An exhibition – Victoria Revealed – dedicated to Queen Victoria’s life at the palace runs through the apartments that she once lived in
images: © Rudy sulgan/CoRbis/getty images
Above: Ornate gates to the south of Kensington Palace. Right: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son, Prince George, are the newest royal residents of the palace
palace (the latter, a sculptor who created the impressive marble statue of her mother that stands between the east side of Kensington Palace and the round pond) fell into a sorry enough state for a nationwide campaign to be launched, appealing for help rescuing the palace from ruin. In 1897, the restoration of the State Apartments was approved: the government agreed to foot the bill on the proviso that the rooms would be open to the public. Two years later, Queen Victoria opened them on her 80th birthday. The following year, over 340,000 people visited. The palace played an important role in World War I, when it was used as charity offices. Princess Louise even allowed injured officers to rest in her apartments. By 1963, Princess Margaret and her husband, Lord Snowdon, the society photographer, had moved into an apartment at the palace. This marked a change in pace for the building, as parties for their celebrity friends, including Elizabeth Taylor and The Beatles, were a regular fixture. Of course, Kensington Palace was also home to the late Diana, Princess of Wales. After her death in 1997, thousands of tributes to her were left at the gates. Today, a large photographic portrait of the ‘people’s princess’ hangs near the visitor entrance. What makes Kensington Palace (and all of the historic royal palaces) different is that it’s not a museum and nor is it a redundant stately home. It is an official royal residence and despite the pomp and majesty, it’s home to a new baby and his parents – a grand place of intimate retreat.
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THe Lady WITH THe Lamp
Florence Nightingale's revolutionary reforms reached much further than the Crimean War patients she tended and she made nursing a reputable calling
lorence Nightingale was named after the Italian city in which she was born in 1820 and yet she is a distinctly British figure, best known for her role caring for soldiers during the Crimean War of 1853-1856. Her work wasn’t limited to nursing, however, and she had a lasting impact on healthcare in Britain, attaining plenty of accolades throughout her life thanks to her achievements. For example, she was the second woman to be granted Freedom of the City of London and the first to be elected to the Royal Statistical Society. She can even be said to be the second most important and influential woman of the Victorian era, after the monarch herself. Born into a respectable, wealthy family, Nightingale was expected to marry well and settle into upper class life. But she felt that nursing was her God-given calling. Her parents initially forbade her to train as a nurse, given that it was a profession considered, during that period, the career choice of poor women who were known for their cavalier attitudes towards patients. However, her family relented after her interest and passion showed no signs of waning. She trained in
Words Martha alexander
Above: During the Crimean War, Nightingale attempted to bring comfort in hellish conditions
Kaiserswerth in Germany for three months in 1851 and after her return to england began working at a hospital for gentlewomen on London’s Harley Street, which was already the medical heart of the capital. In 1853, the Crimean War broke out, the horrifically bloody conflict between Russia and an alliance of Britain, France and the Ottoman empire (which was centred on modern-day Turkey). Nightingale was acquainted with Sidney Herbert who was the Britain’s Secretary at War at the time. He asked her to manage a team of 38 nurses caring for wounded British soldiers in a hospital in Scutari, in modern Üsküdar, Turkey. The hospital was desperately unsanitary – rats scampered beneath the beds and disease spread quickly with devastating consequences. Nightingale realised that the physical structure of the hospital could help or hinder disease, which prompted her to establish ‘Nightingale Wards’: large, open rooms with a limited number of beds to encourage circulation of fresh air and plenty of natural light. at the time this was revolutionary, but her tenets are still integral to hospital wards today. britain
PHOTOS: © THE ART ARCHIVE/ALAMY/JOHNNY JONES/WIKIPEDIA/ISTOCK
During the war, Nightingale gained the nickname ‘The Lady with the Lamp’ from a phrase in a report in The Times: “She is a ministering angel without any exaggeration in these hospitals, and as her slender form glides quietly along each corridor, every poor fellow’s face softens with gratitude at the sight of her.” She became something of a cult figure and was even immortalised in a poem, Santa Filomena, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
DID YOU KNOW?
• Florence Nightingale was a
keen mathematician and is credited with inventing an early form of the pie chart. • When she was 17 years old, Nightingale refused a marriage proposal from a suitably eligible
gentleman, Richard Monckton Milnes, because a life as his wife could never satisfy her philanthropic nature. • After the Crimean War, many admiring Victorians bought ornamental figurines of Florence Nightingale to display in their homes. • International Nurses Day, observed annually on 12 May, commemorates her birth and celebrates the important role of nurses in health care. • Nightingale received the Royal Red Cross from Queen Victoria in 1883 in recognition for her work. Then in 1907 she was awarded the Order of Merit, becoming the first woman to receive it.
Clockwise from main: A hospital ward under Nightingale's supervision; she carried a Turkish lamp on her rounds; her statue near the Guards Memorial in London
“A Lady with a lamp shall stand/In the great history of the land/A noble type of good/Heroic Womanhood.” “In point of fact, the task before Florence Nightingale was nothing less than to save the British army,” read her obituary in the Guardian newspaper, some 50 years later in 1910. “Without her, or at any rate without some such labour as that which she undertook, our generals would soon have been left without a single man.” After the war, monetary gifts were bestowed on Nightingale from people wanting to demonstrate their thanks and appreciation. She used these donations to set up the Nightingale Training School in 1860 at St Thomas’s Hospital in London. Once trained, nurses were sent to hospitals all over Britain, where they promoted the Nightingale model of nursing. Once again, her theories, published in Notes on Nursing (1859), established health practices that are still in existence today. Ironically, her own life was marred by ill health. She was intermittently bedridden from 1857 onwards, and the horror of the war clearly stayed with her for all of her days. In his biography Florence Nightingale: Avenging Angel, Hugh Small argues that she broke down because she felt responsible for the deaths of 14,000 soldiers who could not be saved. Yet her legacy endures and you can discover more about her at the Florence Nightingale Museum in London where the highlight exhibit is the Turkish lamp that she carried with her on her rounds. “It has huge symbolism,” says Natasha McEnroe, the museum’s director. “The image of this one woman changed people’s perceptions, establishing nursing as the respectable profession it is today.”
8 For more on our heroic national figures, please go to the BRITAIN website at www.britain-magazine.com
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Half a Century at the Heart of British Heritage
What to do ● Where to go ● What to buy
We round up our favourite upcoming events, exhibitions, shows and attractions, as well as our pick of the best british buys
music of hawaii James Jones’s novel, From Here to Eternity, that inspired the famous 1953 Fred Zinnemann movie has now arrived in the West End for the premier of a steamy, colourful new musical with lyrics by Tim Rice. www.fromheretoeternity themusical.com
photo: © visit britain/joe cornish
sWeet things take a trip back in time with this mini tin of english berry drops from the harrods celebratory archive Collection. in the early 20th century there was a high demand for these sweet treats from school tuck shops all over the country. £3.95, www.harrods.com www.britain-magazine.com
2014 sees the 20th anniversary of tour specialists Homemade Holidays. Over the last two decades, visitors have enjoyed the company’s unique way to explore Britain. Travelling in exclusive groups, you can see a side of the country seldom discovered by the ordinary tourist. This could be anything from a simple sightseeing trip to a complex family search. www.homemade-holidays.com britain
an epic love story One of the most popular musicals of all time returns to the West End in 2014. Cameron Mackintoshâ€™s new production of Miss Saigon starts on 3 May at the Prince Edward Theatre in the musicalâ€™s 25th-anniversary year. Booking is now open. www.miss-saigon.com
What to do ● Where to go ● What to buy
by george! Handel’s Zadok the Priest has been performed at every coronation since that of King George II in 1727. The By George! exhibition, from 7 February to 18 May, explores his music for royal occasions. www. foundlingmuseum.org.uk
a stone's throw away the true meaning of Stonehenge has been lost in the passage of time but now there's a new visitor centre to help bring the ancient stones alive English Heritage has created a new building 1.5 miles from the World Heritage Site in Wiltshire to house a permanent exhibition. There is a 360-degree experience allowing visitors to ‘stand in the stones’ and nearly 300 prehistoric artefacts, found inside Stonehenge, are on display. www.english-heritage.org.uk
country style london's Savile row is home to dege & Skinner, one of two family-run bespoke tailoring houses to remain on Mayfair's prestigious street – and in 2015 it will celebrate its 150th anniversary. but you don't need to be in london to deck yourself in their tweed, they regularly travel across the uk, europe and the uS for fittings. historically, Savile row tailors have been a gentleman's domain, but dege & Skinner create sporting and business clothes, as well as hand-cut shirts, for ladies too. www.dege-skinner.co.uk
photo: © Coram in the Care of the foundling museum
Seed & bean is the uk’s only 100% ethically accredited chocolate brand. the chocolate is handmade in small batches in england and features some imaginative flavours such as lavender and tangerine. gift box: £20, www.seedandbean.co.uk
editor'S pick – read all about it At the King's Table by Susanne Groom, former curator at historic royal palaces, portrays the history of royal dining from the bustling kitchens of the Middle ages to the informal dinner parties held today. www.britain-magazine.com
Feasts such as a 48-day picnic prepared for king henry Viii and Queen Victoria’s love of nursery food are revealed. includes a foreword by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal. £24.95, hardback.
Sculpture Parks and Trails of Britain & Ireland by Alison Stace does what it says on the cover. divided by region, this book offers handy info on
how to get to every site and lists of highlights along the way. £24.99, paperback. Virginia Woolf’s Garden by Caroline Zoob looks at Monk’s house,
bought by leonard and Virginia Woolf in 1919 as a country retreat – somewhere they came to read, write and work in the garden. Virginia wrote most of her novels in the orchard's lodge. £30, hardback. britain
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Here’s to the
From medieval coaching inns to Victorian gin palaces and workmen’s alehouses, pubs are a quintessentially British institution at the heart of local life WORDS Kate townshend
ther countries may boast bars, brasseries, bistros and cafés but there’s nowhere that does pubs quite like Britain. It’s not surprising, when you consider that alehouses, taverns and inns have been at the heart of British community life since Roman times, with little sign of the status quo changing as the 21st century takes hold. The Angles, Saxons and Danes who invaded after the Romans and settled in England were great beer drinkers; the word ‘ale’ comes from the Saxon ‘ealu’ and the Danish ‘ol’. Brewers opened their homes for people to gather and drink, hence the unique concept of public houses.
The sheer longevity of many of these buildings means that Britain’s pubs have become icons of living history, with the plots, love affairs and business transactions of hundreds of years etched into their very stones. It’s hard to choose from the range of delightful watering holes on offer, but here are 10 particularly special places that showcase the best of British pubs. Groes Inn (1), just outside Snowdonia National Park in Wales, is a perfect example of a classic coaching inn. The building’s history dates back to the 15th century and in 1573 it became the first licensed house in all of Wales. The popularity of the inn is reflected in the blend of architectural
3 Previous page: Groes Inn, just outside Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Above, top: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, nestled under Nottingham Castle, claims to be Britain's oldest pub. Above: The Lygon Arms in the Cotswolds is said to have hosted both Cromwell and King Charles I
additions that trace the successes of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. It’s clear people have been meeting here for a long time. Unsurprisingly then, it’s an inn that is proud of its history. Inside you’ll find original fireplaces complete with stone cats standing guard, as well as all manner of trinkets that the inn has managed to collect and preserve throughout the years. It’s cosy and relaxed, and the sublime views of the Welsh countryside offer another explanation for the inn’s continued popularity. Next is a contender for the coveted title of the country’s oldest pub. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (2), built beneath Nottingham Castle
and purportedly established in 1189, is a place where the lines between ‘now’ and ‘then’ seem to blur in a fascinating way. Of course its very name speaks to its past – it was once a stopping-off place for those called to crusade by Richard the Lionheart, before their journey to reclaim the holy land of Jerusalem could begin. It’s spectacularly situated, above a labyrinth of sandstone cave cellars, past locations of erstwhile cockfighting pits and the castle gaol, and with parts of the building hewn from the rock on which the castle above it stands. Visitors to the inn can still admire the black and white timbering of parts of the external building, as well as wander through the higgledy-piggledy interior with its series of atmospheric connecting bars. For something a little more genteel, a trip to the ever refined Cotswolds is the order of the day. In the centre of the pretty town of Broadway, built from characteristic Cotswold honey-coloured stone, stands The Lygon Arms (3), these days a popular hotel. It began life as the White Hart Inn, benefiting from the bustling wool trade that made the Cotswolds rich in the 15th and 16th centuries, and this sense of prosperity and comfort lingers on. Remaining impartial in the way that only a pub can, it is also said to have hosted both Oliver Cromwell and King Charles I during the English Civil War. And although Cromwell’s visit seems somewhat more likely than Charles’s, The Lygon Arms, with its flagstone www.britain-magazine.com
Exploring Britain floors, wood panelling and stone mullions, remains an inn that truly is ‘fit for a king’. Aside from their sheer numbers, one of the things that demonstrates how fully integrated pubs and inns are within British life is the variety of locations in which they can be found. You’d have to go some way, however, to beat The Drunken Duck Inn (4) in Ambleside for remoteness, standing alone as it does on top of a wooded hill amid all of the glory of the Lake District. At a mere 300 years old it’s comparatively young as British pubs go, but that’s more than enough time for it to have accumulated its own rich and quirky history. Most appealingly, The Drunken Duck’s unusual name apparently refers to a rather literal event, in which a Victorian landlady found her ducks intoxicated after beer leaked into their feeding trough. Assuming the soporific ducks were dead she began to pluck them for the pot, whereupon they revived before the fatal moment! Perhaps fittingly the modern Drunken Duck is a ramblers’ pub, renowned for rewarding hungry walkers with fantastic food, including some rather tasty duck dishes. There’s a slate bar and even a microbrewery next door, proving that the best traditions of the country pub are alive and well. The Adam and Eve (5) pub in Norwich contents itself with being the oldest in the city, but with a recorded history as an alehouse that stretches back to 1279 and an unofficial history
that can be traced even further (a Saxon well is said to exist on the site), it could easily throw its hat into the ring for the countrywide title too. A pretty redbrick building with striking Flemish gables, its unusual architectural features seem to walk hand in hand with its curious back-story. This is a public house where the ale was first brewed by monks and since then it has been visited by stonemasons, smugglers, murderers and queens (Queen Elizabeth I passed the Adam and Eve in procession in 1578), once again demonstrating the extraordinary power of the pub to unite all cross sections of society.
Below, from top: The gruesome sign for the Bucket of Blood pub in Cornwall; The Drunken Duck\inn is found in a beautiful Lake District location
SignS of the timeS J The sign for The Bucket of
Blood in Hayle, Cornwall shows a former landlord recoiling as the water he pulls from his well comes up blood red. J Continuing the gory theme, the sign for The Quiet Woman pub in Buxton, Derbyshire features a headless woman, commemorating the gruesome tale of a wronged maiden killed by her father and stepmother. J Some pubs like to give a nod to humour. The Jolly Tax Payer
in Portsmouth depicts, as you might expect, a rotund and prosperous gentleman on the establishment's sign. J The sign for The Cat and Canary in London’s Docklands features an unlucky feline in a cage while the smug bird keeps an eye on him. J The Dirty Habit pub, in Kent, is situated on the Pilgrims Way, and its sign refers to a weary-looking monk in traditional robes.
photoS: © the groeS inn/kevin britland/tracey whitefoot/alamy/international photobank/idp lake diStrict collection
ÂŠ Ikon Imaging
photoS: © Cath harrieS/Steve vidler/alamy
7 So much history makes the presence of a ghost or two almost inevitable and the pub is a starting point for ghost walks around Norwich. From a pub that is entwined with the town in which it sits, to one at the heart of village life. When you think of an archetypal English country pub, complete with thatched roof, beamed ceilings and wonky walls, it’s probably something not too far from The Star Inn (6), Harome on the edge of the North Yorkshire moors that you have in mind. The 14th-century building looks like it’s been lifted from a greetings card, with its picture-perfect surroundings overlooking the village duck pond. Inside, things retain a fairytale charm. There are open fires, low beams and even mice (happily www.britain-magazine.com
6 of the wooden variety – carved into the fabric of the building). It’s a peaceful place, where the rhythms of village life remain intact. For an utterly different take on the British pub, National Trust-owned The Crown Bar (7) in Belfast has oodles of wow factor. This lavish building brings a certain glamour to proceedings and thoroughly justifies its status as an outstanding example of one of the Victorian gin palaces described by author Charles Dickens as “perfectly dazzling”. If its extravagant, flamboyant style seems rather at odds with British reserve, then that may well be because its Victorian owner persuaded Italian craftsmen, working by day on churches in the city, to spend their time after hours on the pub. There are mosaics, carved ceilings and even stained glass windows, adding to the feeling that this is a rather opulent place for a drink. From the extravagance of The Crown Bar, to a rather different type of pub, The Drovers Inn (8). Situated on a lonely road at the top end of Loch Lomond, it is no less atmospheric. A beacon of Scottish hospitality, its stone walls speak of a pub used to withstanding both the elements and its own isolation, ever since it opened in 1705. The inn is named for the hardy souls who once drove their cattle down the side of the loch en route to market. Despite its picturesque yet rather austere exterior, within The Drovers you’ll find a treasure trove of eccentricity, from all manner
Clockwise from top left: The Adam and Eve in Norwich boasts distinctive Flemish gables; the quaint Star Inn at Harome, North Yorkshire; The Crown Bar in Belfast has a flamboyant Italianate style
Clockwise from above left: The Drovers Inn at the north of Loch Lomond is a hub of eccentric comfort; the pretty Spread Eagle Inn on the Stourhead estate in Wiltshire; the Pandora Inn, Cornwall, a memorial to an ill-fated 18th-century ship
9 of stuffed animals, including a rather ferocious bear, to open fires and an air of rustic comfort that makes it easy to love and hard to leave. The Stourhead estate in Wiltshire offers one of the most beautiful and magical examples of landscaped gardens in the country, so it seems entirely appropriate that it should also have its own handsome and historic pub. The redbricked symmetry of the front of the Spread Eagle Inn (9) hasn’t changed much since the early 18th century and the smell of wood smoke wafting from its chimneys still evokes all the pleasures of an English country tavern. Of course, if you look more closely you’ll see that the Georgian and Regency eras have left their touches upon the building in turn, with period fireplaces and sash windows aplenty. Best of all, if you stay overnight, you’ll even have the chance to survey the wonders of Stourhead after everyone else has gone home. The British Isles, by their very nature, are lucky to possess an abundance of coastal inns and hostelries, and proximity to the sea seems to impart a unique character and flavour to the pubs that look out over it. This is certainly true of the Pandora Inn (10), perched on the edge of the Restronguet Creek in south Cornwall. For starters, it’s a splendidly picturesque building – with whitewashed walls and a thatched roof. Inside, the inn’s 13th-century origins manifest themselves in low beams and stone floors, and it’s easy to imagine that the dogs snoozing peacefully under tables might well belong to some sea captain recently back from a voyage. The Pandora takes its current name from one such seafarer, Captain Edwards, whose ship HMS Pandora struck the Great Barrier Reef in
1791, killing many of its unlucky crew. On his return to Cornwall the captain purchased the inn, naming it in memoriam and ensuring that centuries later people would still speak the name of his lost ship. These establishments merely scratch the surface when it comes to the delights of pubs and inns in Britain. Even the tiniest hamlet or most remote village may well boast an exceptional inn and one of the great pleasures of exploring Britain is the discovery of these gems of hospitality, hidden down country lanes and tucked away in city centre passageways. Surely that’s got to be worth taking the time for a drink or two.
For more of Britain’s best pubs and inns, please visit the BRITAIN website at www.britain-magazine.com
photoS: ©John mckenna/alamy
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avebury rivals stonehenge as the most impressive and complex prehistoric site in Britain www.britain-magazine.com
photo: ÂŠ RobeRt haRding WoRld imageRy/alamy
In the first of a wonderful new series delving into the treasures of the National Trust, we look at some of its most extraordinary monuments and historic sites
The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Sutton Hoo and (left) a huge replica of the simister warrior helmet that was found in the grave
hether you love grand stately homes or wildflower meadows, thatched cottages or crumbling castles, many of Britain’s most beautiful assets and ultimate highlights are in the care of a great British institution. The National Trust is dedicated to protecting the most remarkable buildings and landscapes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Founded in 1895, the Trust has over four million members and looks after one in 10 of all the museums in Britain. Its collection includes 49 churches, nine monasteries and about a quarter of the Lake District, as well as four closets dedicated to powdering wigs. “The National Trust is here to look after ‘special places, for ever, for everyone’,” says Dame Helen Ghosh, the Trust’s Director General. “That’s a big job, and we have wonderful staff and volunteers who help us look after more than 300 houses and gardens, 250,000 hectares of countryside, and 700 miles of coast. Around 120 million people visit our special places each year.
photoS: © Jim GibSon/Loop imaGeS/CorbiS/nationaL truSt imaGeS/Joe CorniSh/mark DaviDSon/aLamy
National Treasures Heritage and countryside are at the heart of Britain’s tourist industry and we are delighted to play our part.” Britain’s ancient history means that it boasts a captivating range of monuments and significant sites. From archaeological finds to follies and statues, and prehistoric creations to tombs and temples, these intriguing locations offer a wonderful insight into the nation’s past. To start with an archaeological gem, we head to rural Suffolk in south-east England. Grave robbers – who were hard at work from the 1600s – just missed it, so it was Mrs Edith Pretty who found one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time at her home above the River Deben. Unearthed amid much excitement in 1939, what Mrs Pretty thought was a Viking vessel turned out to be a 6th- or early 7th-century AngloSaxon royal burial site. A ship formed the grave of a great king, and its hull was stuffed full of gold, garnets and other priceless riches. Known as Sutton Hoo – the ship was concealed under an innocuous mound on the spur (or ‘hoo’) of a 100ft hill – the site is thought to be the resting place of Rædwald, ruler of the Kingdom of East Anglia. The Viking invasions of the 9th century destroyed the East Anglian monasteries where many important documents would have been kept, so Sutton Hoo provides much of what we know about Britain during the Dark Ages. The story of this location, complete with spectral warriors and ritual sacrifice, is sensational, and told at the site’s visitor centre where you can see a full-scale replica of the ancient burial chamber and collections of armour and jewellery. The site’s most precious treasures, including the sinister helmet that has come to symbolise
Sutton Hoo, were gifted to the British Museum (the estate was left to the National Trust in the 1990s). The thrill of visiting the site, however, rather than just viewing the mounds’ contents in the museum, is well worth it. The earthwork remains are among some of England’s most haunting and spiritual monuments. There is something similarly moving about Avebury. While perhaps less well known than nearby Stonehenge, Avebury is in fact home to the world’s largest stone circle and is an atmospheric and magical site. Set in a picturesque pocket of Wiltshire, at Avebury the distant past seems to be all around you. As the ancient stones emerge from the mist when a winter sun rises, there are few more stirring spectacles. Believed to have been erected around 4,500 years ago, and altered over the centuries, the Neolithic circles as they stand today were reconstructed by archaeologist Alexander Keiller, who lived in Avebury Manor in the 1930s. The extraordinary site is comprised of a massive circular bank and ditch of more than 281 acres. Inside this is an inner ring of stones, which encloses two further circles. You can walk freely throughout the circles, stand beneath the heaviest standing stone in Britain (100 tonnes) and glimpse the top of Silbury Hill, the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. From Neolithic to Roman at the other end of England, the stones of Hadrian’s Wall stretch for 73 miles from Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria to Wallsend on the east coast near Newcastle upon Tyne. Building on the wall – now a World Heritage Site – was planned before Roman Emperor Hadrian’s visit to Britain in AD 122; it was
The stones of Hadrian’s Wall stretch for 73 miles from Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria to Wallsend on the east coast near Newcastle upon Tyne
A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hadrian’s Wall is one of Britain's greatest landmarks
The Palladian Bridge at Stowe Landscape Gardens in Buckinghamshire
an expression of Roman dominance and a means of defence against the ‘barbarians’ to the north. Walking the remains of the wall today, looking across the barren landscape, you can almost see the terrifying blue-painted Pictish or Caledonian warriors the Roman soldiers so feared screaming out of the trees towards this last line of protection. Today, not only does Hadrian’s Wall traverse some of the most magnificent landscape in Britain and lead visitors to the Tyneside cityscape, it is also dotted with fascinating forts and museums, all of which help tell the tale of the powerful Roman Empire. The ancient Housesteads Fort sits high up on a ridge overlooking the wall close to Hexham. This was once a base for 800 Roman soldiers and the museum here includes a model of how the fort would have looked 2,000 years ago. This is also the only place where visitors are permitted to walk on the wall, affording panoramic views of a bleak and unspoilt terrain. A pleasing contrast to this wild landscape can be found at the attractive gardens of Stowe, in Buckinghamshire, home to more than 40 unique monuments and temples. The foundations of these gardens were laid when politician Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham began to build Stowe House in the late 17th century. Cobham spent a fortune on the estate, and after his retirement in 1733, he poured his energies into designing a space where he could make bold political statements.
Stowe is one of the most prestigious public schools in Britain, and temples and monuments are dotted throughout the estate’s 250 acres. Each is imbued with meaning; in many instances thinly veiled digs at Viscount Cobham’s enemies. The Temple of Ancient Virtue, for example, a rotunda on a shallow crest of a gently sloping green hillock designed by William Kent in 1734, is notable for featuring four full-length statues of Greek heroes – dubbed ‘the virtues’. Homer, Socrates, Lycurgus, and Epaminondas stand in their own niches, each embodying separate skills: poetry, philosophy, law, military leadership respectively. These virtues are those that Viscount Cobham thought to be missing in his political rivals. Another beautiful structure in the gardens is the Palladian Bridge, one of only three in Britain. When viewed from the west, the Palladian Bridge sits before a romantic woodland backdrop. The Oxford Bridge was built in 1761 to span the Oxford Water, an artificial lake. The bridge is decorated with urns, some of which feature grotesque motifs and were thought to have originally been part of the now demolished Sleeping Parlour that was inspired by Charles Perault’s The Tale of Sleeping Beauty in the Wood. A more public monument to the past can be seen dominating the skyline high up above Weardale in County Durham. The Earl of Durham’s Monument, better known as Penshaw Monument after
photo: © ArcAid imAges/AlAmy
When viewed from the west, the beautiful Palladian Bridge in the gardens of Stowe sits before a romantic woodland backdrop
ABTA No. Y2846
Penshaw Monument, a folly built in 1844 on Penshaw Hill near Sunderland. Below: Glastonbury Tor
the steep hill upon which it was built, is an important geographical marker. Even at night the formidable 70ft high gritstone folly is visible, a glowing beacon completely bathed in light. The Penshaw Monument is a replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, a Doric construction dating from 449 BC. It was created as a memorial for the radical politician John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham, whose family seat was Lambton Castle, close to Penshaw Hill. Lambton died in 1840 and the foundation stone of his monument was laid four years later. A spiral staircase, hidden in one of its 18 pillars, ascends to the roof of the monument. It is open most weekends during the summer,
when visitors can climb to the top of the temple for even better views of the rugged landscape that surrounds it. Beneath is the river valley where the legend of the fearful Lambton Worm is set, a dragon-like monster slain by a medieval ancestor of Sir John. From the monument the distinctive coil marks of Worm Hill are clearly visible, said to be the indentations where the river beast bedded down to rest.
For visitor information and more wonderful monuments and historic sites owned by the National Trust, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk or explore the BRITAIN website at www.britain-magazine.com
Best of the rest
photoS: © iStock/kevtate999
Glastonbury tor once an island and still also known as the Mystical Isle of Avalon, Glastonbury tor is a distinctive hill in somerset crowned by st Michael's tower, a 15th-century roofless structure that was originally part of a church. the view from the top of the tor takes in Dorset, Wiltshire and even Wales. this dramatic spot is an integral part of pagan culture thanks to being situated on the exact point at which two ley lines – the st Michael line and the st Mary line – cross, supposedly creating a hub of energy. Duke of briDGewater MonuMent At the heart of the leafy Ashridge estate that rolls for some 5,000 acres across the Chiltern hills is a monument to the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, John egerton, whose family lived here for generations. Known as the ‘Canal Duke’ thanks to his connections and influence over British waterways,
Bridgewater created the canal from Worsley to Manchester, in order to transport the coal obtained on his estates. the monument rewards those who climb its 172 steps with a view over seven counties. uffinGton white horse there is a handful of white horses set into hillsides across Britain, but few as old or iconic as the Uffington White horse, a Bronze Age relic that is part of a group of ancient remains that stretch across this chalky oxfordshire landscape. At the top of White horse hill is Uffington Castle, an Iron Age fort and the highest point in the county. tennyson MonuMent Alfred, Lord tennyson wrote some of his most important work on the Isle of Wight, a place that not only inspired him but which he also called home. A monument to the poet was erected on the highest point of what was originally called east high Down.
m a rt i n r a n d a l l t r av e l The
Rochester, engraving 1896.
Charles Dickens Talks and readings by Andrew Sanders, author of Charles Dickens’s London, throughout the tour. Stay in central London and on the seafront in Portsmouth • 5–9 April 2014
Great Houses of the East Country houses in East Anglia and the East Midlands, examples from the end of the Middle Ages to the Victorian era • 4–12 June 2014
Northumbria Wide-ranging exploration of the natural and man-made beauties of one of the most interesting but least visited regions of England • 18–26 June 2014
The Victorian Achievement For more information or a brochure: +44 (0)20 8742 3355 www.martinrandall.com
Studies the social history, industrial archaeology, architecture and art of the reign of Queen Victoria, a period when Great Britain led the world in trade, industry and ideas • 4–11 August 2014
Royal Residences Visits ten palaces and homes, half of which are still in use by the Royal Family • 19–23 August 2014
Visit the Isle of Historical Treasures A short journey across the Solent to the Isle of Wight will take you back in time… to the mosaic masterpieces of the Romans and a Monarch who
retreated to the seaside. Our year-round Wight World experiences have return car ferry travel for 4 people plus entry to the attraction included!
Get away for the day to Queen Victoria’s summer palace at Osborne, Brading Roman Villa, Carisbrooke Castle or Dimbola Museum & Galleries and discover your Smiles of Wight with Wightlink.
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shopping heaven Londonâ€™s department stores
ondon is a haven for shoppers: from traditional markets to designer boutiques and from the buzz of Oxford Street to the bling of Knightsbridge, this is one of the greatest cities in the world for consumers of every persuasion. For many though, the biggest draw when it comes to shopping in the capital are its department stores. These enormous shops that stock everything from biscuits to www.britain-magazine.com
bicycles are filled with fascinating treasures, and the big names have an absorbing heritage as well. Although royal favourite Fortnum & Mason was established in 1707, it wasnâ€™t until the early 19th century that large department stores began to spring up all over Britain. The Industrial Revolution had brought about economic growth and a prosperous middle-class who generated a consumer society preoccupied by fashion. britain
Harvey Nichols is now a glamorous empire that stretches far beyond the patch of Knightsbridge where its five-storey London store is located – today there are shops all over the UK father’s shop. Nichols wanted to sell exotic carpets, furnishing and luxury goods alongside the existing linens, kick-starting the store’s glamorous reputation. Harvey Nichols remains one of the most fashion-conscious stores in London, appealing to a wide range of customers and increasingly famous for risqué advertising campaigns. It is also celebrated for installing ingenious window displays. One of the most notable was the vintage sweet shop created to celebrate The Queen’s Jubilee. Dubbed the Knightsbridge Corner Shop, the shop front was designed in a 1950s style to mark the era of The Queen’s coronation. A stone’s throw away from Harvey Nichols, on the Brompton Road, is Harrods, one of the most iconic names in the history of retail. Its dramatic facade runs along a vast stretch of Knightsbridge, one of the most exclusive parts of central London, and at night it glows with no fewer than 11,500 lights. Much more than a shop, Harrods offers an honours degree in sales to employees, contains over 28 restaurants and bars throughout the store, houses a safety deposit service and features its own pet shop. The empire started in 1849 as a simple grocery shop in Knightsbridge, run by Charles Henry Harrod, who sold the business to his son Charles Digby Harrod in 1861. He proved to be an astute businessman and increased profits massively. By 1879 he had bought the two buildings either side of the existing shop and promptly launched a van delivery service. Harrods began to sell everything from medicines and stationery to fine jewellery. In 1883 a fire burnt the store to the ground, but a year later a brand new purpose-built shop was constructed boasting an extravagant facade of terracotta tiling punctuated by cherubs. The windows were in the Art Nouveau style and on top of the entire building was a magnificent baroque-style dome.
Above: The flagship Harvey Nichols store in Knightsbridge. Right: Harrods Ladies' Shoe Department in 1919. Facing page: Harrods Food Hall
photoS: © tim gartSide London/aLamy/harrodS/aLex Segre/Steve vidLer
One of the first to arise from this buyer boom was Harvey Nichols, now a glamorous empire that stretches far beyond the patch of Knightsbridge where its five-storey London flagship is located – today there are shops all over the UK and as far afield as Saudi Arabia. It even has its own stand-alone restaurant, the Oxo Tower, on London’s South Bank, which was launched in 1996. The original store had modest beginnings in 1813 when it was opened as a linen shop by Benjamin Harvey, in a terraced house on the corner of Knightsbridge and Sloane Street. It wasn’t until decades later in 1880 that the present (and much grander) building was constructed. Harvey passed the enterprise on to his daughter, Elizabeth, who went into business with Colonel Nichols, an expert in oriental textiles and the silk specialist at her
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Luxury London Marble Arch was built from scratch with the prime purpose of becoming a large shop. The Selfridges story has been revisited recently thanks to the popular British television drama Mr Selfridge based on the book Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge by historian and author Lindy Woodhead. Harry Gordon Selfridge was an ambitious American businessman with a clear vision for his empire, which was late onto the London department store scene, opening in spring 1909. “London was already a hub of shopping long before Selfridges was built,” explains Woodhead. “Fenwicks was there and Fortnum & Mason had been open since the 1700s. But they are much smaller.” It was indeed the size that set Selfridges apart from the rest. “Most of the other department stores were higgledypiggledy because they had grown organically with extensions added,” says Woodhead. “Liberty is a classic example. The scale of Selfridges was enormous and made it pretty awesome. Then there was the question of its architectural presence. It was built in an imposing way
Above: The facade of Harrods runs along a vast stretch of Knightsbridge and at night it glows with 11,500 lights. Right: Liberty is made from the timbers of two ships
photoS: © john arnold imageS ltd/alamy/harrodS
By 1890, Charles Digby Harrod had retired and Richard Burbidge was appointed general manager. Over the next 21 years neighbouring premises were bought until Harrods occupied the entire site where it still sits today. In 1909 Harrods employed doormen who were known as the Green Men on account of their distinctive outfits. They have become used to the rich and famous at the store – the likes of Lillie Langtry and Oscar Wilde were among those to have one of the first personal accounts available in 1885. Wilde was also a fan of another famous London department store, Liberty, and proclaimed it “the chosen resort of the artistic shopper”. Liberty operates out of a splendid Tudor revival building made from the timbers of two ships, HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan, and is located just south of where Oxford Street meets Regent Street in the West End. Erected in 1924 to a design by Edwin T Hall and his son Edwin S Hall it realised the vision of Arthur Liberty, who wanted his emporium to have a home-from-home feel with wooden panelling, small snug rooms and carefully considered natural lighting concepts. This idea is still in evidence today and despite its size, Liberty feels cosier and quainter than its counterparts. Arthur Liberty had a fierce ambition. He had begun with the lease of half a shop on Regent Street, which opened in 1875 with only three staff, selling home furnishings and fashion. Ten years on and he had another property on Regent Street, named Chesham House after his childhood home. The store was full of exotic and fashionable items from all over the world – the basement was known as the ‘Eastern Bazaar’. It was in this new store that the iconic Liberty prints were created. These contributed greatly to the Art Nouveau movement, which had a huge revival in the 1960s and saw Liberty enjoy a boom. In 1975 the store celebrated its centenary with a vast exhibition at the V&A. Sadly Arthur Liberty died in 1917 before he saw his goal fully accomplished but there is no doubt he would be proud of what his dreams achieved. Unlike almost all of the other large department stores in London, Selfridges & Co on Oxford Street near
images: © andrew meredith/L. BirnBaum/LeBrecht music & arts/corBis
Selfridge was obsessed with the concept of added value, giving customers more than just a shopping experience. He wanted to entertain people so that they would keep coming back and had a sense of importance – a sense of majesty even – like a museum or palace.” Woodhead believes that the shock-and-awe success of Selfridges came about because Selfridge was American and brought a sense of international modernity to London. The store is notable for its neo-classical exterior encasing an open, contemporary interior – Selfridge wanted customers to be able to walk through the building seamlessly, gliding between the various departments without needing to open doors. Selfridge was adored and feared by his staff in equal measure. He was a stickler for standards – the cleanliness of his staff’s nails would be checked regularly and if any traces of grime were detected a dismissal was inevitable. He hired a doctor and a dentist to work in the store for his staff and the cloakrooms came complete with a valet and maid. Selfridge was also obsessed with the concept of added value, giving customers more than just a shopping experience. He wanted to entertain people so that they would keep coming back. He offered things that seemed unthinkable at the time. For example, he invited film stars in to make personal appearances during an era when there was no television – Isadora Duncan or Anna Pavlova would sit in a special window and write autographs using a diamond-tipped pen. The store even presented tennis lessons on the roof where five-times Wimbledon singles champion Suzanne Lenglen taught masterclasses. Perhaps most splendidly Selfridge, who was an aviation enthusiast, decided to sell aeroplanes and had a specialist department in store run by a pilot. Flying lessons were also offered from the roof in a plane simulator. “It’s more akin today to how it was when Harry Gordon Selfridge opened it,” says Woodhead of the
Above, from left: Selfridges has a striking neo-classical exterior; the store's Beauty Hall in 1929. Below: Dame Vivienne Westwood has collaborated with Liberty
modern Selfridges. “There’s a vibrancy to it. It’s a fantastically exciting place to visit and work – it’s just so wonderfully glamorous now. The family who own it have invested in it and cherish it.” London’s department stores “are some of the most ravishing buildings in Britain,” she says. “They have a fantastic sense of longevity, because of the imagination that has continued to keep them alive over the years.”
For more on department stores and shopping in London, please visit the BRITAIN website at www.britain-magazine.com
DiD you know? they had ascended. J A silver replica of Harrods is
J Britain’s first escalator was
installed in Harrods department store in 1898. Shop assistants were required to stand at the top offering nervous customers brandy or smelling salts after
on display on the store’s lower ground floor. This was a gift from Gordon Selfridge when he lost a bet with the Harrods managing director, over which store, Harrods or Selfridge’s, would make more profit in 1927. J Liberty has a long history of artistic and inspiring collaborative projects – from william Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the 19th century to yves Saint Laurent and Dame Vivienne westwood in modern times.
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V I E W FRO M T H E TOW ER PEN T H O U SE
Daphne du Maurierâ€™s
CORNWALL With atmospheric tales of romance, smugglers and secrecy, author Daphne du Maurier wrote spellbinding novels inspired by the drama of the Cornish landscape WORDS JESSICA TOOZE
Landscapes of Literature
Du Maurier drew her inspiration for Manderley from the Cornish mansion of Menabilly
PHOTO: © CHICHESTER PARTNERSHIP
ast night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” writes Daphne du Maurier in the famous opening sentence of her novel Rebecca. She was known for channelling her feelings for cherished landscapes and surroundings to inform her creativity, and in Rebecca this wistful line comes from the author’s homesickness for her beloved Cornwall. Du Maurier was born in London in 1907 but it was the dramatic landscape of England’s most south-westerly county, which she first experienced at the age of 19 on a trip to Fowey, that excited her imagination and became the backdrop to her most memorable fiction. The initial drive to Fowey, along country lanes with clifftop views, was something du Maurier remembered for her whole life. When she was nearly 60, she wrote about the impact of that moment: “The hired car swept round the curve of the hill and suddenly the full expanse of Fowey harbour was spread beneath us … like the gateway to another world. My spirits soared.” Fowey (pronounced ‘Foy’) is now at the centre of what has been dubbed ‘du Maurier country’ and is a pretty port with an illustrious history – it sent ships to join the battle against the Spanish Armada in 1588. It is a picturesque place to visit, with its narrow tiers of pastel-coloured cottages winding down to the attractive harbour where small yachts with bright sails nip across the water. The poet Robert Bridges described Fowey as “the most poetic-looking place in England” and it provided inspiration for Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows – he is said to have modelled Toad Hall on Fowey Hall, now the Fowey Hall Hotel. Du Maurier would have taken the little vehicle ferry that journeys from Bodinnick on the eastern side of the Fowey estuary (it is still running today and there is a pedestrian ferry from the old fishing village of Polruan, slightly further down). She also frequented the 400-year-old Ferry Inn and it was on the way here on her first visit that BRITAIN
Landscapes of Literature du Maurier spotted a house perched between the cliffside and the river, named Swiss Cottage, which the family promptly bought and renamed Ferryside. “Here was the freedom I desired,” she said. “Freedom to write, to walk, to wander, freedom to climb hills, to pull a boat, to be alone.” For du Maurier this magical place did indeed provide a gateway into another world – it was here that her writing took off. She loved the coastal existence, learning to sail and fish and starting the long walks that were to become a habit throughout her life. She confided in her diary: “I think Fowey means more to me than anything now. The river, the harbour, the sea. It’s much more than love for a person.” On her adventures she soaked up the atmosphere of Cornwall’s wild countryside so that its places, people and unique inspirations began to materialise in her work. Her first novel The Loving Spirit, for example, came from one of her excursions to a sheltered tidal creek off the Fowey River by Pont Pill. Here she found the wrecked schooner Jane Slade whose carved figurehead excited her imagination. Du Maurier researched the family of the woman represented by the figurehead, and in the novel Jane Slade became Janet Coombe. The story chronicles the lives of four generations of a Cornish boat-building family living in the fictional town of Plyn, unmistakably the landscape of Polruan. A 14th-century block house, from which a chain could be pulled up across the river to prevent the entrance of unwanted vessels, can be seen today at the head of the estuary, towards the open sea of St Austell Bay – a reminder that this coast was once a popular haunt of pirates. In a hopelessly romantic real-life story, it was this book that was to introduce du Maurier to her future husband. Major Tommy Browning was so affected by the novel that he sailed his yacht to Fowey in search of the author. They fell in love and in July 1932 were married at medieval St Wyllow’s Church in Lanteglos-by-Fowey –
Above: Ferryside was bought by writer Daphne du Maurier's family in 1926. Below: A portrait of du Maurier in 1932. Facing page: Boats moored on Pont Pill with Polruan and the River Fowey in the distance
photoS: © JameS oSmond photography/alamy/ConStanCe Collier/iStoCk
ExplorE Du MauriEr Country
J the nearest train stations are at par and St austell. www.nationalrail.co.uk J the Daphne du Maurier Festival, Fowey, takes place in May each year. www.dumaurier.org/festival
J the Daphne du Maurier literary Centre offers guided walks of Fowey so you can trace the links between her books and real life. www.fowey.co.uk J Menabilly and most of the grounds remain private although two cottages on the estate – including ‘rebecca’s boathouse’, polridmouth Cottage – can be rented as holiday lets. From £369 per week. www.menabilly.com J Jamaica inn houses a display of memorabilia in the room where du Maurier stayed, featuring various items owned by the author including her writing desk and typewriter. B&B starts at £70. www.jamaicainn.co.uk J Frenchman’s Creek Cottage contains plenty of du Maurier-related books and a logbook with tributes to her. Four nights from £266. www.landmarktrust.org.uk
Jane Slade is buried in the graveyard. Many of the landmarks that du Maurier loved around Fowey can be identified in The Loving Spirit and as she wrote more (by the time it was published in 1932, she had written another book and was halfway through a third) she ventured further afield. She travelled to the Lizard Peninsula, the southernmost point of Cornwall, and to Trelowarren Estate there, home to the Vyvyan family. Du Maurier described the Gothic, atmospheric house and grounds at Trelowarren as “the most beautiful place imaginable” and was struck by its spooky long drive of holm oaks with dark, intertwining branches. The friend she made here, Clara Vyvyan, frequently visited a tributary of the Helford River nearby called Frenchman’s Creek, and it was to this remote spot that du Maurier and her new husband came for their honeymoon. Du Maurier’s dashing tale of love and adventure of the same name was published in 1941. The heroine Dona St Columb vividly describes her first impressions of the secret spot: “Suddenly, before her for the first time, was the creek, still and soundless, shrouded by the trees, hidden from the eyes of men.” The creek is still isolated and peaceful today. At low tide, the skeletons of dead trees are revealed, black and dripping in the water, and abandoned boats are beached, although you are unlikely to find a dashing foreign pirate. You can soak up the romance of the place, however, in dreamy Frenchman’s Creek Cottage, once rented by Clara Vyvyan and now owned by the Landmark Trust. On another of her expeditions, in November 1930, du Maurier went riding on Bodmin Moor to the north of Fowey and, alarmingly lost in a thick fog, came across the Jamaica Inn Temperance Hotel. It had been a stop for stage and mail coaches travelling from Penzance or Falmouth to London, and it was easy for her to picture the “grim landmark” in a tempestuous past, when smuggling was rampant. Her novel Jamaica Inn captures the forbidding bleakness of the moor that can still hold true today, especially in britain
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Landscapes of Literature
the grip of one of the sudden changes of weather to which it is prone. Her heroine Mary Yellan describes the sinister desolation of the place: “On either side of the road the country stretched interminably into space … mile upon mile of bleak moorland, dark and untraversed, rolling like a desert land to some unseen horizon.” Jamaica Inn, to be found between Bodmin and Launceston, has gained notoriety for allegedly being one of the most haunted places in Britain. Hugely tourist focused now, it contains The Museum of Smuggling, recalling a time when the Cornwall coast was the most popular location for smuggling of silks, tea, tobacco and brandy into England. For those on the trail of du Maurier, a more authentically atmospheric destination is nearby Dozmary Pool. The bottomless lake of legend, into which King Arthur’s sword Excalibur was thrown, was a place that the author certainly visited. In fact, she knew the moor well, from the pretty village of Altarnun, so at odds with the sinister connections in Jamaica Inn, to the highest tor, Brown Willy (whose name rather ruins its Cornish origins, Bron Wennyly, meaning ‘hill of swallows’). Of course the building that du Maurier is most associated with, and that was more significant to her than any other, was waiting to be discovered. She wrote that she had glimpsed a roof deep in the “enchanted woods” below Gribbin Head to the west of Fowey and set out to find more about this “house of secrets”. The ivy-covered grey stone manor was called Menabilly, and was hidden behind wrought-iron gates where an “eerie and most ghostlike atmosphere” awaited on the impassable drive. The local legend was that the house, part of the private estate of the Rashleigh family and passed down since Tudor times, was haunted. But du Maurier was www.britain-magazine.com
Above: Bodmin Moor's bleak and atmospheric landscape inspired du Maurier. Below: The legendary coaching house of Jamaica Inn
the water’s edge by a small bay between pretty Covington Woods and the grand mansion of Point Neptune. Returning to Menabilly, she found the house even more derelict after years of neglect. Determined to save it, she contacted owner Dr Rashleigh who agreed to let it to her – dry rot, leaking roof and all. Her husband was far away in Tunis, occupied with the war, so du Maurier turned all her energies to restoring her dream home and by the end of the year, amazingly, it was ready for habitation. She and her children loved the grounds, which were full of azaleas in the spring, and the woods that blossomed with snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells and wild garlic.
photoS: © AShley Cooper piCS/AlAmy/philip Fenton lrpS/loop imAgeS/CorbiS
fascinated with the place and returned often to trespass through the wild grounds of tangled holly and rhododendrons, once climbing in through an unlatched window to wander through dusty rooms. She wrote about her feelings for the house in 1932, saying, “I’m here, I’m happy, I’m home.” However, Menabilly remained purely a preoccupation for du Maurier for many years, especially once her husband’s regiment was posted to Egypt in 1936. She detested Alexandria and longed to return to Cornwall. It was during this time though that the seeds of Rebecca were sown – her longing for Menabilly and Cornwall is manifested in the character of the second Mrs de Winter who forms a strong attachment with her new house: Manderley. Published in 1938, Rebecca was a sensation and within the first few weeks 100,000 copies had been sold. Film adaptations and stage plays followed, which kept du Maurier busy, now in London. But in April 1942 she finally moved back to Fowey. She could not live at Ferryside, as the Royal Navy had requisitioned it, so she rented 8 Readymoney Cove, a pretty white house perched right on
Above: Pendennis Castle is one of the finest fortresses built by King Henry VIII and features in The King's General
Menabilly itself remains a mysterious presence on the landscape – du Maurier’s “house of secrets” has, perhaps fittingly, reverted to quiet seclusion. It was returned to the Rashleighs in 1969 when she moved to Kilmarth, the dower house of the Menabilly estate and her final home. At Kilmarth she was inspired to write her penultimate novel The House on the Strand (1969), her interest piqued by the home’s cellars where she found the remains of experiments by the previous tenant. For this novel, which dips in and out of 14th-century Cornwall, she immersed herself in research to discover how the landscape had changed and began to “see the whole countryside in a 14th-century way”. Local landmarks again feature strongly, from Kilmarth to the almshouses at the base of Polmear Hill, to the nearby villages – all wonderful places to visit today. In du Maurier’s stories, places become as vitally important as people and are characters in their own right. And throughout her work, there is no bigger character than Cornwall. In 1967 she produced a coffee-table book entitled Vanishing Cornwall. It was a chance for her to proclaim her love for her adopted county. “A county known and loved in all its moods becomes woven into the pattern of life, something to be shared. As one who sought to know it long ago … in a quest for freedom, and later put down roots and found content, I have come a small way up the path. The beauty and the mystery beckon still.”
For more information on Daphne du
photo: © Loop Images Ltd/aLamy
They swam in the sea, picnicked at Menabilly Beach and lived a quiet, idyllic countryside existence, quite cut off from the rest of the world. Du Maurier wrote in 1946: “At midnight, when the children sleep, and all is hushed and still, I sit down at the piano and look at the panelled walls, and slowly, softly, with no one there to see, the house whispers her secrets, and the secrets turn to stories.” With her happiness in her new home came more novels. In Cavalier romance The King’s General (1946) she blended fact and fiction to write about Menabilly during the English Civil War – the action ranges across Cornwall from Launceston Castle to Lanhydrock, now owned by the National Trust. Pendennis Castle, built by King Henry VIII in the 1540s just outside Falmouth, features strongly. My Cousin Rachel (1951) includes recognisable elements of du Maurier’s daily life: the rhododendrons, the mill cottage on the beach, the favoured spots for swimming; and Menabilly, though unnamed, is surely the mansion that Philip Ashley cherished. Her 13th novel, Castle Dor (1962) takes its name from the Iron Age fort on the west bank of the River Fowey, once home to the legendary King Mark and setting for the ultimate Cornish love story – Tristan and Iseult. Walking in the footsteps of the author is not difficult, for her writing is suffused with recognisable elements of the Cornish countryside. Stroll up to Gribbin Head, for example, and follow the path down to Polridmouth Beach (pronounced Pridmouth). A notorious black spot for shipwrecks, the bay here still has some of the brooding atmosphere that permeates Rebecca. The pebble beach backs onto a freshwater lake, fed by a stream emerging from high above within the dark woods of the Menabilly estate, and the lonely former mill house can easily be imagined as the “cottage on the beach” where Rebecca met her lover.
Maurier’s life in Cornwall see Daphne du Maurier At Home by Hilary Macaskill, which explores the homes and landscapes of du Maurier's life, illustrated with little-seen material from the family archive. Published by Frances Lincoln, £25, hardback. www.britain-magazine.com
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Mondays and Fridays Pointhelicopter near Bideford. The November see’s thefrom startHartland of the winter service toservice Lundyruns on Mondays andthe Fridays from Hartland Pointexhilarating near Bideford. The flight service runs through until the end of March 2014. This exhilarating 6 minute flighttakes takes through until end of March 2014. This 6 minute Mondays and Fridays from Hartland Point near Bideford. The service runs through until the end of March 2014. This exhilarating 6 minute flight takes in the spectacular aerial views of Lundy and the North Devon coastline. in the spectacular aerial views 2014. of Lundy the North6Devon through until the end of March Thisand exhilarating minutecoastline. flight takes in the spectacular aerial views of Lundy and the North Devon coastline. Lundy offers visitors visitors an extraordinary extraordinary range buildings inwhich which stay, in the spectacular aerial views of Lundy andofofthe North in Devon coastline. Lundy offers an range buildings totostay, Lundy offers visitors an extraordinary range of buildings in which to stay, twenty three individual properties are available. From a thirteenth century twenty three individual properties are available. From a thirteenth century Lundy offers visitors an extraordinary range of buildings in which to stay, twenty three individual properties are available. From a thirteenth century Castle, late Georgian house,Lighthouse Lighthouse and fisherman's chalet. Castle, aa late Georgian house, and aafisherman's chalet. twenty three individual properties are available. From a thirteenth century Castle, a late Georgian house, Lighthouse and a fisherman’s chalet. All properties are self catering, cosy and warm. All properties are selfLighthouse catering, cosy warm. Castle, a late Georgian house, andand a fisherman's chalet. All properties are self catering, cosy and warm. Marisco Tavern isis the the hubof ofIsland Islandlife, life,having having wonderful All properties are hub self catering, cosy and warm. The Marisco Tavern aawonderful atmospheric place Tavern with aa fine fine selection offood foodlife, andhaving wines.The menu,like like The Marisco Marisco Tavern is the the hub of of of Island life, having wonderful place with selection and wines. menu, The is hub Island aaThe wonderful atmospheric place with a fine selection of food and wines. The menu, like everything else on the island, has a special Lundy flavour. everything else on the selection island, has special atmospheric place with a fine ofafood andLundy wines.flavour. The menu, like else on the island, has a special Lundy flavour. unique destination destination theperfect perfect place relaxand and unwind. Thiseverything unique isisthe totorelax unwind. else on the island, has aplace special Lundy flavour. This unique destination is the perfect place to relax and unwind. This unique destination is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
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W IN A WELSH
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HOW TO ENTER To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous competition, simply answer the question below, complete the coupon and send to the address provided. Alternatively, enter via the BRITAIN website: www.britain-magazine.com Question: What vegetable is Wales most usually associated with? a) potato b) turnip c) leek
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Closing date is 17 March 2014. Prize is subject to availability, must be booked in advance and taken as stated. Beverages not included with dinners. Travel not included. Must be taken by November 2014.
LLANGOED HALL HOTEL COMPETITION ENTRY FORM SEND YOUR COUPON TO: Llangoed Hall Competition, BRITAIN magazine, The Chelsea Magazine Company, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London, SW3 3TQ , UK My answer: Name: Address: Postcode: Tel no:
f seclusion, service and style sound like the ingredients of a perfect retreat, then we recommend you enter this issue’s competition: the prize is a two-night stay at the awardwinning Llangoed Hall Hotel in Wales. This stunning country house hotel, nestled beneath the Black Mountains in the Wye Valley, won the Welsh AA Hotel of the Year 2013/14, was awarded Four Red Stars in the AA Inspectors’ Choice and offers perfect relaxation. This historic building is steeped in history. It was formerly known as Llangoed Castle and dates back to 1632. Sir Bernard Ashley and designer Laura Ashley purchased the Jacobean manor house in the mid-1980s and it was turned into a hotel. Following major refurbishment, which started in 2012, all 23 of the bedrooms at Llangoed House Hotel are havens of elegance. As the lucky winner of our competition, you and your guest will enjoy two nights staying in one of these rooms, each individually designed and furnished with beautiful antiques – including pieces by Laura Ashley herself – and original paintings. The art at Llangoed Hall is outstanding, with works by the likes of James McNeil Whistler and Augustus John adorning the walls and adding to the country house feel. Explore the 17 acres of landscaped gardens, which include a maze to get lost in, and the organic kitchen garden from which food for the restaurant is sourced. The River Wye flows by to the east. Each morning you will enjoy a delicious daily breakfast and in the evenings you will also have dinner in the restaurant, which won Best Restaurant 2014 at Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence. Dishes are made by head chef Nick Brodie and his team, from locally sourced Welsh produce such as Welsh Black Beef and local Radnorshire Lamb.
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A question of
From cricket to croquet, the history of some of the world's favourite sports and pastimes has been shaped and developed in Britain
photoS: © mcc muSeum/ViSitBritain/Britain on ViewiStock
Words DaviD Motton
e may not have “invented every sport currently played around the world” as Prime Minister David Cameron recently rather enthusiastically claimed, but for a small island Britain has a prominent place in sporting history. Few sports are really ‘invented’ in one single, light-bulb moment. Sports evolve over time, often
passed from one country to another, developed to suit different cultures and eras. The particular British contribution is to understand what makes each sport work, and to put it down on paper. The Prime Minister could more accurately have said that no other country has done so much to lay down the rules of popular sports, but then we have always been sticklers for the rule book. britain
boxing: from rough house to rulebook There’s no better example of Britain’s role in codifying sport than boxing. You may be thinking of the Marquess of Queensberry rules, but another boxing pioneer beat the Marquess to the punch by more than 100 years. Boxing (or prize-fighting) was popular in Britain through the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. These early British bouts had few if any rules, and were chaotic and dangerous. The noted fighter Jack Broughton sought to introduce some order in 1743 with seven rules, which included offering protection to a boxer on the ground and outlawed seizing an opponent “by the ham, the breeches or any part below the waist”. Broughton’s rules were expanded upon to form the London Prize Ring Rules in 1838, outlawing head-butting, biting and punching below the belt. Some 29 years later the rules we still associate with boxing today were written down. Although known as the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, they were actually authored by John Chambers, with the Marquess as patron. These 1867 regulations, including the use of “fair-size” gloves, underpin the sport to this day.
The first cricket test match was played in 1877, with Australia defeating England by 45 runs. The origins of the game are uncertain, but it’s likely cricket started as a children’s game in south-east England. The earliest reference to ‘crecket’ is in a 1598 court case, in which 59-year-old coroner John Derrick refers to playing the game on common land some 50 years earlier. The first reference to adults playing cricket dates to 1611. Two parishioners from Sidlesham, West Sussex, chose to play cricket rather than go to church on Easter Sunday and were fined 12 pence each. Falling foul of the local vicar seems to have been a hazard for early cricketers. In 1622 several cricketers from Boxgrove near Chichester were fined for playing in a churchyard and reportedly sending an errant cricket ball through the church’s windows. The early history of cricket records more serious incidents, including a couple of deaths when fielders were struck on the head by batsmen as they attempted to hit the ball a second time. Hitting the ball twice was banned when the rules of the game were set down in 1744 by a group of noblemen and gentlemen who played at the Artillery Ground in London. However, widespread acceptance of a single set of rules didn’t happen until after the Marylebone Cricket Club published its Code of Laws in 1788. During the 18th century gambling on the outcome of games was almost more popular than cricket itself, with the players often in on the wager. In one match in 1718 between London Cricket Club and the Rochester Punch Club, the Rochester players abandoned the game when they realised they were on the wrong end of the score. The opposition took the Rochester team to court and after months of legal wrangling they were ordered to play out the game. They duly lost the match – and the bet. Antique66 Marylebone britain Cricket Club sign. Top: Boxing, Hampshire, 1896
photoS: © RobeRto heRRett/AlAmy/the pRint ColleCtoR/AeltC/tom loveloCk
CriCket: rather insalubrious beginnings
David Ferrer v Andy Murray at Wimbledon 2012
Tennis: anyone for sphairisTike? Lawn tennis originated in England the late 19th century. Between 1859 and 1865 Major Harry Gem and his friend Augusto Perera were developing a new pastime in Warwickshire that combined elements of rackets (an indoor sport similar to squash) and the Basque ball game pelota. The pair were among the founders of the Leamington Lawn Tennis Club in 1872 – the world’s first lawn tennis club. It was another military man, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield, who really popularised the game. His version was known as sphairistike (from the Greek meaning ‘skill at playing ball’). He was
canny enough to patent his sport and in 1874 started selling a box set, which contained everything the budding sphairistike enthusiast needed to get started in the game. The Greek name being something of a mouthful, he also advertised his new pursuit as ‘Lawn Tennis’, and unsurprisingly this was the name that stuck. Within a year the All England Croquet Club had set aside a lawn for tennis and in 1877 held its first tennis championship at Wimbledon. Only 22 players entered and the final was played in front of a crowd of just 200 or so, but the world’s most famous tennis championship had begun.
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Clockwise from top left: Ready for croquet in an English garden; spring meeting of the All England Croquet Club at Wimbledon; croquet mallets below the championship board at Cheltenham Croquet Club
Like lawn tennis, the genteel milieu of croquet seems to portray the epitome of Englishness, and is another sport that was refined, developed and defined in Britain. The origins of croquet are disputed. One theory is that croquet arrived in Britain from France through the court of King Charles II, played under the name paille-maille or pall-mall. Another is that croquet or ‘crookey’ was played in Ireland in the 19th century and didn't arrive in Britain until the 1850s. Whatever the truth, croquet became something of a craze during the 1860s – no fashionable garden party was complete without a game. It was on the lawns of Chastleton House in the Cotswolds that the rules were laid down by Walter Jones Whitmore in 1866 and published in a series of articles in The Field magazine. Just two years later, the All England Croquet Club was established in Wimbledon. Although genteel on the surface, the early croquet pioneers soon split into rival factions, with Jones Whitmore on one side and his former collaborator John Henry Walsh on the other. With the two sides arguing, and an easy-going outdoor party game becoming increasingly serious and competitive, it was inevitable that fashionable sporting types turned to tennis instead. Today croquet remains a game for decorous country lawns, the most competition being for the last glass of Pimm’s.
photoS: © ChriS roSe/propertyStoCk/jeff morgan 12
Croquet: the garden party Craze
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Sporting Nation Golf: a very ScottiSh Sport Some sporting historians argue that golf originated in the Netherlands, or even China. However, Scotland has the strongest claim to being the birthplace of the modern game. The first recorded mention of golf in Scotland dates to a 1457 Act of Parliament, in which King James II banned golf as a distraction from archery practice. Despite further attempts to ban the game its popularity grew, and not every monarch was against the sport. In fact the first officially documented golf match took place in 1504 between King James IV and the Earl of Bothwell. The rules of the game were written down in 1744 by the Company of Gentlemen Golfers. However, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that the sport really took off nationwide, with the railway making Scotland more accessible from the rest of Britain and Queen Victoria’s enthusiasm for all things Scottish helping to make golf a fashionable pursuit. Golf match at St Andrews, 1923
photoS: © UniverSal imageS groUp limited/alamy/hUlton-deUtSch collection/corBiS/mcc mUSeUm
You can learn more about the fascinating history of British sport at one of these inspiring venues. lord'S Opened in 1953, the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) Museum at Lord's in London is one of the oldest sporting museums in the world. www.lords.org Wimbledon laWn tenniS muSeum A visit to Wimbledon in south London, home to the world's most famous tennis tournament since 1877, is essential for any fan of the sport. www.wimbledon.com the britiSh Golf muSeum Just yards from the iconic ‘Old Course' at St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland, the British Golf Museum tells the story of the sport through no fewer than 16,000 artworks, prizes, artefacts and photographs. www.britishgolfmuseum.co.uk Wembley Stadium It may not match the old Wembley for history, but the new national stadium in west London is a spectacular piece of architecture. Visitors can enjoy a fascinating 75-minute tour. www.wembleystadium.com millennium Stadium Nowhere is rugby followed with more passion than in Wales. Tours of Welsh rugby's home venue, the magnificent Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, are run seven days a week. www.millenniumstadium.com The iconic Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole at St Andrews Old Course britain
Sporting Nation DiD you know?
J Baseball (pictured above) may seem as
photoS: © Sandro Vannini/corbiS/wikipedia
American as burgers and fries, but it's mentioned in a novel by one of Britain's most celebrated authors, Jane Austen. The heroine of Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland, is described as preferring "cricket, baseball, riding on horseback and running about the country to books". J Squash may now be thought of as a sport for well-off professionals, but its origins can be traced back to the game of rackets – played in Fleet debtors’ prison. J The oldest golf course in the world is Musselburgh Links in East Lothian, Scotland. According to local tradition Mary, Queen of Scots played the game here in 1567. J You may know that snooker developed from billiards, as played by British soldiers in
A 1900s football and boots
the 19th century. But did you know that the name 'snooker' comes from army slang for a first-year cadet? J Football wasn't always such a popular sport. Before 1627, there were around 30 attempts to have the game banned. J Polo is now so closely associated with our royalty and upper classes that it's hard not to think of it as British. However, China, Iran and India can all point to evidence the sport was invented there. J French nobleman Baron de Coubertin may be regarded as the founder of the modern Olympics, but in fact a country doctor from Shropshire beat him to it by decades. Dr William Penny Brookes founded 'The Olympian Class' athletic competition in 1850, some 46 years earlier.
Wembley Stadium at night
Football: the national game Any round-up of British sport would be incomplete without mentioning football. The strict rules of the modern game would have seemed alien to medieval footballers. Matches were typically played between teams from neighbouring villages, with an animal’s bladder acting as the ball. Just about any tactic was considered legitimate – the spectacle must have been a riot. From these violent beginnings, the modern game evolved on the public school playing fields of the 18th and 19th centuries. Different schools had their own rules, some allowing the ball to be handled, some not. William Webb Ellis, a pupil at Rugby School, is said to have started the sport that bears his school’s name by picking up the ball and running forward with it. The account is probably apocryphal, and it’s the running forward with the ball which would have been against the rules rather than carrying it – but why spoil a good story? It was at Cambridge University in 1848 that former pupils of many of the most famous public schools drew up the first modern rules for football. Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Shrewsbury and Winchester men took eight hours to thrash out what became known as the Cambridge Rules. However, these laws weren’t widely adopted outside of public schools and universities. It wasn’t until 1863 that the Football Association was formed. It took much argument before agreement could be reached – a ban on kicking an opponent in the shins was particularly unpopular with some. Only after the sixth meeting were the Laws of Football published. In football as in so many other sports, when it comes to the rules, Britain wrote the book. www.britain-magazine.com
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OUR FAVOURITE LETTER
I have subscribed to BRITAIN magazine for many months now, and I want to tell you it is the most beautiful magazine I have ever seen. I only wish I had known about it years ago. My late wife Kathy and I were (and I still am) great fans of the British, your people, your culture, architecture, traditions and your history; we often read books together about British history and watched British programmes on our local public television station. After I retired we had planned to travel extensively in Britain; we had wanted to see and enjoy the places we had read about first hand, everything from the castles
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and manors to the beautiful thatched cottages in the villages. Unfortunately, Kathy passed away shortly after I retired in 2001, and with her passing all of our hopes and dreams for seeing Britain died as well. Due to my own declining health I am no longer able to travel, but when I read the magazine I can travel in my mind; through it I’ve been able to see many of the places that we had planned to see. I’ve been reading Volume 81 Issue 5 of BRITAIN, and the Isle of Wight was one of the places Kathy and I had hoped to visit. Reading your many articles and features such as ‘Wonderful Weekends’, ‘Exploring Britain’ and ‘Places to Stay’, and even the advertisements, brings so much pleasure to an old man. The descriptions of the food available in the eateries are so delectable to someone who is on a very restrictive diet. I love it! Through your magazine I have been able to enjoy Britain from afar. Steven Lower, Oklahoma, USA • Our favourite letter wins a
15” chess set and a bagatelle set (pictured) worth £105 from traditional high-quality gamesmaker, Jaques of London. Established in 1795, the company has been steered by eight generations, inventing and introducing many of the family games that are still much loved today. www.jaqueslondon.co.uk /www.jaquesamerica.com
How truly wonderful to read about St Michael’s Mount in Vol 81 Issue 5 of BRITAIN. You have brought back memories of my May 2011 visit to perfection. I really noticed the salty seaweed air; it reminded me of my childhood on the north coast of Tasmania. You have described everything in such accurate detail and as I sit at home on the other side of the world, it feels as though I’m there again. Thank you for all the historical background. It helps so much with understanding all that I saw. I almost got stranded on the island because I was given an incorrect time for the incoming tide. Time and tide wait for no man… or woman! Evelyn Lawson, Victoria, Australia
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Great Fire of London
LONDONâ€™S BURNING A cataclysmic disaster, the Great Fire of London destroyed four-fifths of the 1666 city. But it inspired some real treasures and changed the face of the capital for ever WORDS NEIL JONES
IMAGES: © WIKIPEDIA/ART KOWALSKY/ALAMY
hen, early on 2 September 1666, the famous diarist Samuel Pepys heard of a fire in the City of London that had already destroyed 300 houses, he hired a boat to view the scene from the Thames. To his horror he noted: “Everybody endeavouring to remove their goods, and flinging into the river or bringing them into lighters that lay off; poor people staying in their houses as long as till the very fire touched them, and then running into boats, or clambering from one pair of stairs ... to another.” The dramatic conflagration wasn’t the fi rst – nor last – to strike the capital, but the Great Fire of London was one of the most devastating events in the city’s history. Raging from 1am on Sunday 2 September to dawn on Thursday 6 September, it resulted in four-fi fths of the City being destroyed, including 13,200 houses and 87 churches. Miraculously, there were only six officially recorded deaths, but the very hub of Britain’s trade, government and prosperity stood in ruins. The ideal place to begin to piece together what happened is the War, Plague and Fire gallery in the Museum of London, featuring a video, model and artefacts like melted pottery from a burnt-out shop. Seventeenth-century London was a turbulent place: the Great Plague had decimated a third of its population in
Above: The dome of St Paul's Cathedral above the modern city skyline
1665, while frictions between Protestants and Catholics, as well as England’s recent wars with France and the Netherlands, made its citizens nervous. In the event it was a spark in Thomas Farriner’s bakery in Pudding Lane that kindled the disaster. It’s thought his oven was not fully extinguished overnight and in the early hours wood beside it caught fi re. While the baker and his family escaped, their unfortunate maid perished. The fire could hardly have started in a more dangerous place, close to the river’s warehouses and shops packed
TIMELINE OF A CENTURY 1603 Accession of King James I (James VI of Scotland), the first Stuart monarch of England
1616 Death of William Shakespeare
1607 Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America, is established
1653 Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector 1642-46 English Civil War begins
1653 1625 Accession of King Charles I
1605 The Gunpowder Plot
1660 Parliament invites Charles II to return to England. He is restored to the throne
1611 Publication of Authorised Version of the King James Bible
1652-54 First Dutch War
1649 Trial and execution of Charles I. The Commonwealth begins
1658 Death of Oliver Cromwell. His son Richard becomes Lord Protector
1660 Samuel Pepys begins his diary (to 1669)
Above: A pre-fire panorama of London in 1616 by Claes Van Visscher
with combustibles such as coal, timber, oil and alcohol. It had been a long, dry summer and, with a strong easterly wind fanning the flames, the City’s mainly timber-framed buildings were easily lit, their overhanging jetties and the crowded nature of the narrow streets inviting fire to spread. Yet the Lord Mayor Thomas Bludworth, called to the scene at 4am, dismissed the threat posed by the fire and returned to bed, saying: “A woman might piss it out.” Download the Museum of London’s Great Fire of London MP4 Walking Tour and you can set off to explore some of the key locations where events unfolded: from Pudding Lane and the Monument commemorating the fire, to the Guildhall that housed the Lord Mayor’s offices and St Paul’s Cathedral. There are remarkable eyewitness accounts and paintings too, and Pepys was in the thick of things. On his boat trip on the morning of 2 September he had been alarmed to see no one trying to dowse the fire and he hastened to Whitehall to warn the king. Charles II immediately commanded houses to be pulled down to create firebreaks.
When Pepys conveyed the order to Bludworth in Cannon Street at noon, the Lord Mayor had changed his earlier tune. “To the King’s message he cried, like a fainting woman, ‘Lord, what can I do? I am spent: people will not obey me. I have been pulling down houses, but the fire overtakes us faster than we can do it.’” With no organised fire brigade in London in 1666, people were reliant on buckets and ladders, fire hooks to pull down buildings, and hand-pumped machines to squirt water. The fire rampaged down Fish Street Hill, onto London Bridge, along the Thames and north of Thames Street, destroying warehouses, St Magnus the Martyr Church and Fishmongers’ Hall, the first of dozens of livery company halls to be ruined. Terrified by such large-scale calamity, people began to fear a French or Dutch attack, and armed mobs hunted for foreign or Catholic arsonists. Militia were called in to control the crowds. Over five days the conflagration spread across 436 acres, ripping through Lombard Street, Cornhill and the Royal Exchange, also Threadneedle Street, Baynard’s Castle,
Samuel Pepys had been alarmed to see no one trying to dowse the fire and he hastened to Whitehall to warn the king
1666 France declares war on England (concluded 1667) 1666 2-6 September – the Great Fire of London
1685 Death of Charles and accession of King James II. 24 churches are completed (1685-1689)
1668 1,450 houses are built in London by year end. Halls for the Butchers', Cutlers' and Inn-holders' are completed 1671 Custom House, the Guildhall, Royal Exchange are rebuilt. Work begins on four new churches and the Monument
1677 The Monument is completed
1666 1665 The Great Plague
1667 16 March – Samuel Pepys sees some cellars that are still smoking, six months after the Great Fire www.britain-magazine.com
1681 A plaque is set up on the site of the bakery where the fire began in Pudding Lane, blaming Catholics for starting the fire
1668 An Act of Parliament establishes new fire prevention regulations for the City of London 1675 Foundation stone for St Paul's Cathedral is laid. St Christopher-leStocks church is completed
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Great Fire of London
he ordered supplies to be brought for the homeless thousands camped in the fields. His brother, James Duke of York, took command of operations from the second day and set up posts manned by civilians and soldiers to tackle the fires. From the third day, gunpowder was used to demolish houses more quickly than pulling them down and by that evening the wind had also dropped. The fire fighters gradually gained control. Diarist John Evelyn records wandering through the eerie aftermath of the disaster, burning the soles of his shoes on smouldering ground and losing his way in the “dismal desert”. The next month an official day of fasting was held and £12,794 collected from across the country to provide aid to London’s newly destitute; many would move away. The hunt for a culprit who caused the Great Fire found a scapegoat in Frenchman Robert Hubert, who confessed
Diarist John Evelyn records wandering through the eerie aftermath of the disaster
Top: Ludgate in flames, with Old St Paul's Cathedral behind. Above: Christopher Wren. Below: St Vedast, reconstructed by Wren after the fire
and was hanged even though the jury believed him to be deluded. Alternatively, the quirky ‘Fat Boy’ statue at Pye Corner (Giltspur Street) claims the fire was retribution for the sin of gluttony. King and council concluded it resulted from “the hand of God upon us, a great wind, and the season so very dry.” Thomas Farriner, who had signed Hubert’s confession, reopened his bakery; Thomas Bludworth also avoided official censure. Evelyn writes that plans to raise a “glorious Phoenix” from London’s ruins proliferated, many proposing a completely fresh, orderly layout to replace cramped medieval streets. Christopher Wren envisioned monumental avenues and thoroughfares radiating from piazzas. However the economic and political necessity of getting London up and running as soon as possible saw speed and affordability win the day. images: © michael NicholsoN/corbis/wikipedia/view pictures/alamy
Cheapside, the Sessions House in the Old Bailey, Ludgate and Newgate Gaol (from which prisoners escaped), Temple and Fleet Street. When the fire reached within 300 yards of the Tower of London, all available resources rushed to the scene. St Paul’s Cathedral, in wooden scaffolding awaiting restoration, was not so lucky; its roof collapsed and thousands of books stored in the crypt fuelled the inferno. There are tales of heroism: a seaman and a soldier climbed onto the roof of Middle Temple Hall to beat out flames. And tragedy: an 80-year-old watchmaker refused to leave his home in Shoe Lane and it fell on him. But mainly people fled to the fields outside the City; the court packed its bags; even Pepys, hearing the fire was approaching Barking Church near his home, buried his wine and Parmesan cheese in the garden for safekeeping and temporarily absented himself. During the fire, King Charles rode around the City distributing money to encourage fire-fighting efforts and
Fire your imagination J the War, Plague and Fire gallery at the museum of London features a great Fire of London model, video and artefacts including objects excavated from a cellar two doors from the Pudding Lane bakery. www.museumoflondon.org.uk J the great Fire of London mP4 Walking tour explore sites affected by the conflagration on an absorbing 90-minute wander, including Pudding Lane and St Paul’s Cathedral. www. museumoflondon.org.uk/explore-online/spotify/great-firelondon-mp4-walking-tour/
J the monument is a stone roman Doric column in the City of London commemorating the fire – the tallest isolated stone column in the world and a superb vantage point over the City. www.themonument.info J at St Paul’s Cathedral you can climb the dome of Wren’s masterpiece for panoramic views across London. www.stpauls.co.uk J Join a walk around Wren’s extraordinary churches with the City in Spires: a tour of Wren Churches. www. visitlondon.com/search?keywords=wren+churches
Great Fire of London
Famous legacies of the rebuilding are Wren’s churches and his masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral A team of architects and surveyors set to work on reconstruction between 1667 and 1710, largely following the old street plan although some roads were widened. A tax on coal was levied to help fund public buildings and new regulations promoted improvements to houses, including the use of brick instead of wood. Pavements appeared for the first time and new sewers were installed, leading one proud citizen to declare: “it is not only the finest, but the most healthy city in the world.” Much post-fire architecture has since vanished, but gems can still be found like the home (now museum) of the dictionary-compiler Dr Johnson in Gough Square. Visit, too, the Monument (junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill) constructed by Wren and Robert Hooke. Completed in 1677, the column is 61 metres tall – the exact distance between it and the site in Pudding Lane where the fire started – and 311 steps lead to a viewing platform offering superb vistas. The most famous legacies of the rebuilding are Wren’s
Left on the drawing board
iMAges: © rsteve tAylor/Arps/AlAMy/wikipediA
J Numerous unusual plans for rebuilding London were proposed, one of the most radical from a Somerset cartographer, Richard Newcourt, who drew up a vast gridiron pattern of 55 parishes, each contained within a rectangle of identical size. J Army officer Valentine Knight proposed building a huge canal that would yield revenue through taxes, but Charles II disliked the idea of making profit from disaster and threw him into prison. J Plans for the Monument varied too: Wren’s design to place a 15ft statue of Charles II in Roman costume on top of the column was deemed too expensive. The eventual column was used as a place for experiments by the Royal Society but these ceased because vibrations from passing traffic made precision impossible. J Wren also created at least four designs for the new St Paul’s, including the Great Model (rejected in 1674) that can be viewed in the cathedral’s Trophy Room. The most fantastical was suggested as part of repairs even before the Great Fire: his ‘Pineapple Design’ featuring a 68ft carved pineapple – the exotic fruit had only recently been brought to England – sprouting from the top of the dome.
above: The ‘wedding cake' spire of St Bride's church. Left: London in 1666, with the burnt area shown in pink
churches and his masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral. Twenty-nine of the 51 churches he designed still stand, remarkable for their striking array of steeples and spires: from the baroque of St Vedast to the Gothic of St Dunstan-in-the-East, the slender spire of St Martinwithin-Ludgate and the ‘wedding cake’ tiers of St Bride. For the crowning glory, explore St Paul’s Cathedral whose dome, at 111.3 metres high one of the largest cathedral domes in the world, has become an iconic feature of London’s skyline. Wren revised his designs throughout the cathedral’s building from 1675 to 1710, but the result is stunning. It’s 528 steps and 85.4 metres to the Golden Gallery for panoramic scenes over the Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. The ‘tabula rasa’ left by the Great Fire of London may not have been filled by a model renaissance city as proposed by visionaries like Wren, but it inspired some genuine treasures and made the capital an altogether safer city for generations to come.
For more on the history of London, please visit the BRITAIN website at www.britain-magazine.com
Sudeley ad 129x99.pdf
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Open 17th March – 2nd November 2014 Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire GL54 5JD Telephone 01242 602308 www.sudeleycastle.co.uk
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Hand picked en-suite accommodation Luggage transportation Detailed route instructions and maps Expert local guides Private group tour specialists
Quote BRIT002 to receive a discount on all bookings made before 31st March 2014
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AT BURFORD HOUSE HOTEL 99 High Street, Burford Oxfordshire OX18 4QA
*Prices are per room for a two night stay for two people and includes VAT. Our standard cancellation terms are applicable and available on request. Additional nights, when available, are at our best rate at the time of booking.
Valentine Weekend offer available for the14th and 15th February, 2014.
Located at the ‘Gateway to Cotswolds’ Burford House is an ideal place to celebrate a romantic Valentine’s weekend. Arrive in your room to find a box of fine Chocolate Truffles and a half bottle of Laurent-Perrier Champagne on ice. A four course candlelit dinner for two, in our ’Centre Stage Restaurant’, set the mood for the evening. Awake in the morning to enjoy our award winning full English breakfast to get you set for the day ahead. Optional dinner available on the Saturday night and breakfast Sunday morning before departure. Prices from £99.00 pppn. Deluxe en-suite Double £396.00* Deluxe en-suite Double/Twin £418.00* Deluxe en-suite Four Poster Double £448.00*
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Cotswolds astles around the
The serene landscape of this cosy corner of England boasts some of the countryâ€™s most beautiful medieval castles: legacies from an enthralling period of kings, conspiracies and conflict WORDS SUSAN BROOKES-MORRIS
Warwick Castle rises majestically above the River Avon on a snowy winter's day www.britain-magazine.com
Facing page, top: Berkeley Castle's pink stone glows in the sun. Facing page, bottom: The Morning Room at Berkeley. Below: Sudeley Castle
J Berkeley Castle is open to the public from
Easter to October. Special events in 2014 will include archaeology exhibitions. J Thornbury Castle is open to nonresidents for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Thornbury has had many royal guests over the centuries and current staff have been trained by Grant Harold, previously a butler to Prince Charles.
J Sudeley Castle is open from March to
November. There are plans for a Richard III exhibition and a WW1 display in 2014. It also holds weddings and has a range of holiday cottages plus a pheasantry and owlery. J Warwick Castle has a packed agenda of activities throughout the year. These include birds of prey demonstrations, shows by bowmen and, on occasions, jousting.
photoS: © chriStopher nicholSon/david coleman/alamy/berkeley caStle
he Cotswolds and its surroundings today boast some of the prettiest, most peaceful countryside in England. But these rolling landscapes were once far from tranquil, and played host to intrigue, treachery and warfare. From the Normans and onwards throughout the Middle Ages, royalty and nobles were attracted by the area’s strategic locations, and great fortresses were built both for defence and to control the local population. It is well worth branching off the familiar Cotswolds trail and taking a tour in and around this region, discovering the dramatic histories of some of these magnificent castles. One of the most remarkable is 12th-century Berkeley Castle, in the village of Berkeley close to the River Severn. It is the oldest continuously occupied castle in England after the royal fortresses of the Tower of London and Windsor Castle, and the oldest (except for brief royal confiscation) to be unceasingly owned and occupied by the same family. The Berkeleys can trace their ancestry from father to son back to Saxon times. Constructed of warm pink stone that glows in the sun, Berkeley appears as a romantic castle, but it was designed with defence rather than beauty in mind. Originally built as protection against the Welsh, it is one of the finest examples of medieval domestic architecture in the country, developed from a Norman motte and bailey and enlarged through the Middle Ages. You can still see the elements that made the castle a formidable fortress to attack, including arrow slits, murder holes, huge barred doors, slots where the portcullis once fell, trip steps intended to make the enemy stumble during an assault and worn stones where sentries stood guard.
In the stone keep that is now the castle’s oldest surviving section you will find the Tower Room, where it is easy to imagine what it must have felt like to be trapped in the castle under attack – this small space was where women, children and valuables were secured. The keep was built by Robert Fitzharding, a nobleman of Anglo-Saxon descent from Bristol. He was granted the feudal barony of Berkeley in 1154 as a reward for supporting King Henry II and financing his soldiers during the violent civil war between King Stephen and Henry’s mother Empress Matilda. It was Fitzharding’s son Maurice who adopted the ‘de Berkeley’ name. The Berkeleys fell in and out of favour with the reigning monarch over subsequent years until 1327 when Edward II, the sixth Plantagenet king in a line that began with the reign of Henry II, was deposed by his wife Isabella and brought by Thomas de Berkeley to be imprisoned in Berkeley Castle. Most sources agree that Edward was here for five months before being murdered. Some chroniclers tell that he was suffocated, or strangled, and a few state that he met a rather nasty end via a red-hot poker. The last phase of the castle’s violent history happened during the English Civil War (1642–1651). After a siege that saw cannon being fired from the adjacent church roof of St Mary the Virgin, the royal garrison surrendered the castle to the Parliamentarians in 1643. The walls were left breached afterwards and the Berkeley family was allowed to retain ownership on condition that it never repaired the damage, surrender terms enforced to this day by the original Act of Parliament drawn up at the time. Berkeley is now an altogether more serene place, with captivating gardens that specialise in scent. It also feels like a lived-in estate, well-used to receiving visitors. Facilities for entertaining guests were added in 1916, and include a swimming pool, tennis courts and a golf course. Even a tropical Butterfly House was built in 1984.
You can experience living in a fascinating fortress for yourself at nearby Thornbury Castle, also in Gloucestershire. Now owned by the Luxury Family Hotels Collection, it is the only Tudor Castle in England to be run as an hotel. All around you, turrets, spiral staircases and arrow-slit windows evoke more than 500 years of history. The current glorious buildings originate from when Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, inherited the estate in 1498 and made it his principal seat. He planned the creation of an ambitious fortified residence, obtaining a licence to crenellate and embattle the manor house in 1510, and set about building an elaborate palace-castle, modelled on Richmond Palace in London. The south range is the architectural showpiece, containing spectacular double-height compass windows with complicated geometrical profiles designed to light the duke and duchess’s apartments. The decoration of the south and west ranges includes lavish use of heraldic emblems. Sadly Buckingham didn’t have time to enjoy the fruits of his labour because in 1521 he was tried for treason, having been accused of harbouring designs on his distant cousin Henry VIII’s throne. Henry was both jealous and suspicious of Buckingham due to his wealth and lands, and he was
photoS: © thornbury caStle/nick williamS photography
promptly executed. His estate at Thornbury was confiscated, remaining under Crown ownership until 1554 when Queen Mary returned it to Buckingham’s son, Lord Henry Stafford. The transition to an hotel took place over several years in the 1960s and its unique features include the hexagonal Tower Restaurant with magnificent open fireplace; the Baron’s Sitting Room that has deep-set windows with spectacular views; and the Tudor Hall, a 16th-century room filled with suits of armour, tapestries and exposed walls. There are 26 individually designed bedchambers. The Tower Suite, the highest bedchamber in the castle, boasts the largest four-poster bed in the country, measuring some 10 feet across. Other bedrooms come complete with special trundle or truckle beds, which have been designed in true Tudor style. Perhaps King Henry VIII slept in something similar when he stayed at the castle for 10 days in August 1535 with his queen, Anne Boleyn. More royal connections can be found when you travel north to Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe in the Cotswold Hills, and it is these that enthral archivist Jean Bray who has worked at Sudeley for more than 17 years. “I think the ruined State Apartments are fascinating,” she says. “Historian David Starkey has described these as www.britain-magazine.com
Above: Thornbury Castle is now a hotel. Left: The sumptuous Howard Bedroom
‘the best royal ruins in England’ and they were built by King Richard III when he became the owner of Sudeley for the second time in 1483 after acceding to the throne.” Katherine Parr’s tomb is also very special as she is the only English queen to be buried on private ground. Her body was rediscovered by a group of sightseers in 1782, in the ruined chapel, and in 1861 she was finally moved to a new, more fitting tomb in St Mary’s Church in the castle gardens. A significant part of the castle’s history relates to Parr’s time here as wife of the notorious Sir Thomas Seymour. She had an affair with Seymour before becoming the sixth wife of King Henry VIII but returned to Seymour after Henry’s death. There is a fabulous collection of Parr’s books and letters to him at the castle. A favourite with visitors is the magnificent stained glass window that commemorates Queen Elizabeth I’s three visits to Sudeley. On the occasion of her last visit, in the autumn of 1592, the then owner Giles Brydges, 3rd Baron Chandos of Sudeley, prepared costly gifts for the queen and a grand pageant was held in her honour. During the Civil War the castle was midway between King Charles I’s headquarters at Oxford and the West Country and became a base for his supporters. Charles britain
images: © superstock/the photolibrary Wales/alamy
Above: Sudeley Castle's lovely gardens represent all eras of the castle's history. Below: Warwick Castle was a private home until 1978
and his defeated army themselves took refuge in the castle after the disastrous siege of Gloucester in 1643. After the war the castle fell into disrepair until wealthy glovemakers the Dent brothers took it on in 1837 and began to restore it. It was eventually opened to the public in 1969. The castle’s nine award-winning gardens are a particular attraction for today’s visitors and represent all eras of the
castle’s history, including the famous Queens’ Garden named for the queens who walked here: Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I. To complete your tour, head to the north of the Cotswolds where Warwick Castle rises majestically above the River Avon. The castle has also endured a chequered history. The site was first fortified by William the Conqueror in 1068 but it is most famously associated with the mighty Earls of Warwick who rebuilt the castle in stone in the Middle Ages. Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, was the most infamous – his influence and intrigues during the Wars of the Roses, by turns supporting and helping to depose Edward IV and Henry VI, earned him the sobriquet Warwick the Kingmaker. (Edward finally killed Warwick at the Battle of Barnet in 1471.) Visitors to the castle today are in for a treat – 1,100 years of history are presented in an interesting and interactive way and there are many highlights, including the 15th-century tower where bears were kept, the grand interiors of the Chapel, Great Hall and State Rooms and the famously haunted Ghost Tower. Make sure to head to the dungeons too, where you can read the writing of those left to rot in the cells and revel in tales of ghoulish times gone by – before emerging once more into the tranquil landscape of this most picturesque region.
For more information on touring the Cotswolds and surrounding areas, please go to the BRITAIN website at www.britain-magazine.com
Berkeley Castle Gloucestershire GL13 9BQ
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ď?Źď?ľď?¸ď?ľď?˛ď?š ď?Ąď?Łď?Łď?Żď?ď?ď?Żď?¤ď?Ąď?´ď?Šď?Żď?Ž â€˘ ď?˛ď?Ľď?§ď?Ľď?Žď?Łď?š ď?Ąď?˛ď?Łď?¨ď?Šď?´ď?Ľď?Łď?´ď?ľď?˛ď?Ľ ď?˘ď?Ľď?Ąď?ľď?´ď?Šď?Śď?ľď?Ź ď?§ď?Ąď?˛ď?¤ď?Ľď?Žď?ł â€˘ ď?°ď?Ąď?śď?Ľď?ď?Ľď?Žď?´ ď?Łď?Ąď?Śď&#x;Šď?ł ď?Ąď?Žď?¤ ď?Łď?¨ď?Šď?Ł ď?˛ď?Ľď?łď?´ď?Ąď?ľď?˛ď?Ąď?Žď?´ď?ł â€˘ ď?łď?´ď?šď?Źď?Šď?łď?¨ ď?łď?¨ď?Żď?°ď?°ď?Šď?Žď?§ â€˘ ď?Śď?Ľď?łď?´ď?Šď?śď?Ąď?Źď?ł ď?Ąď?Žď?¤ ď?´ď?¨ď?Ľď?Ąď?´ď?˛ď?Ľ â€˘ ď?Ľď?Žď?´ď?Ľď?˛ď?´ď?Ąď?Šď?Žď?ď?Ľď?Žď?´ ď?Ąď?Źď?Ź ď?šď?Ľď?Ąď?˛ ď?˛ď?Żď?ľď?Žď?¤ For further information visit www.VisitCheltenham.com
Isle of Man Ireland UK
On the Isle of Man you can escape the hustle and hassle of everyday life and find a different pace. You can relax, take your time and discover an island thatâ€™s bursting with local history, stunning walks, delicious food, beautiful scenery and surprising wildlife. Why not pop across and experience it for yourself?
Fly from: Belfast City, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bristol, Dublin, Gloucester, London (City, Gatwick & Luton), Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich.
Sail from: Heysham, Liverpool, Belfast, Dublin.
Make your escape at:
Unspoilt and stunningly beautiful, the perfect hideaway from the modern world To find out more call 01481 832345 or visit
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Village lanes & boutiques Pubs, restaurants & hotels Twickenham Stadium London Wetland Centre Kew Gardens, Richmond Park & Hampton Court Palace
Richmond upon Thames W W W. V I S I T R I C H M O N D . C O . U K
Visit Richmond, Surrey
A combination of picturesque villages, lively historic towns and rural scenes...
Escape, Explore and Enjoy…
Located in Buckinghamshire and set in the heart of the Chiltern Hills the Wycombe District is the perfect year round destination whatever your agenda. For those looking to escape to the countryside the beautiful walks, waterways and cosy English pubs provide an idyllic rural retreat. Or if you prefer a more lively atmosphere the bustling historic market towns offer endless entertainment for all the family. Marlow
To find out more and plan your stay contact one of our Tourist Information Centres High Wycombe Information Centre Library Foyer, 5 Eden Place High Wycombe, HP11 2DH Phone: +44(0)1494 421892
Marlow Information Centre 55a High Street (Entrance on Institute Road) Marlow, SL7 1BA Phone: +44(0)1628 483597
Princes Risborough Information Centre Tower Court, Horns Lane Princes Risborough, HP27 0JA Phone: +44(0)1844 274795
Visit www.visitbuckinghamshire.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org To book space call Natasha +44 (0)207 349 3732
BRITAIN’S CHOICE – discover fascinating heritage attractions TRAVEL FROM WATERLOO
R HOU E N IN O A
BROUGHTON CASTLE One of the most beautiful historic houses in Oxfordshire It is the family home of Lord and Lady Saye and Sele and their family who have owned the house for 600 years. It has lovely walled gardens within the moat. There is a particularly good collection of old roses and very fine herbaceous borders.
AND STEAM THROUGH THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE
Open: easter Sunday and Monday from 2 – 5pm. Then from 1 May until 15 September on Wednesdays and Sundays and Bank holiday Mondays 2 – 5pm. Also Thursdays July and August 2 – 5pm. (Last admission to house 4.30pm.)
www.broughtoncastle.com Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX15 5eB | T: +44 (0)1295 276070 | e: email@example.com
Guided & Self Guided Walking Holidays. A family run company now in our 32nd season. View our 2014 schedule of walks online.
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Bristol city centre 30 minutes. 45 minutes from Bristol Airport. 2 hours from London and 45 minutes to Bath. Easily accessible from the M5 and M4 motorway. The only original Tudor Castle open as a hotel in England
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OPEN: 1st April-28th September 2014 OPEN: OPEN: 29th 29th March March –– 29th 29th September September 2013 2013 Tuesdays to Sundays, plus bank Tuesdays to Sundays, plus bank holidays Tuesdays to Sundays, plus bank holidays holidays Open in & Open seven days in seven July &days August 11am - 5.30pm Open seven days in July July & August August 11am 5.30pm 11am 5.30pm (House(House opens 12 noon for tours only) (House opens opens 12 12 noon noon for for tours tours only) only)
www.newbyhall.com www.newbyhall.com www.newbyhall.com Information Hotline: 0845 4504 068 Information Information Hotline: Hotline: 0845 0845 4504 4504 068 068
Newby Newby Hall Hall & Gardens & Gardens
NEWBY HALL & GARDENS, RIPON, NORTH YORKSHIRE HG4 5AE NEWBY HALL & GARDENS, RIPON, NORTH YORKSHIRE HG4 5AE NEWBY HALL & GARDENS, RIPON, NORTH YORKSHIRE HG4 5AE
Award winning cuisine served in the Tower Restaurant – Head Chef Mark Veale worked for 4 years in London for Gordon Ramsay Staff trained by Prince Charles’ former butler 26 stunning and uniquely designed bedchambers, many with open fireplaces and/or four poster beds Key tourist attractions such as Roman Baths, Stonehenge and Longleat are within a realistic distance for a day trip We can arrange – Falconry, Archery, Croquet, Sightseeing Tours and Duck Herding on site – additional charges may apply for some specialist activities. Free Wi-Fi & Car Parking
email firstname.lastname@example.org | telephone +44 (0)1454 281182
An unusually complete range of medieval buildings with a varied history of Norman Fortress, Fortified Palace, Administrative Centre and finally the romantic ruin it is today in the heart of Shropshire. Experience a complete shopping experience within the castle walls at the Castle Shop, Castle Gallery and The Art Room plus Tea Rooms serving Traditional English Teas.
CASTLE HOUSE LODGINGS
Castle House, the last grand mansion built in Ludlow, was sympathetically restored in 2006 and provides a number of 5* self catering apartments for 3, 4 and 7 night stays. Also there are fine function rooms for weddings and function hire. For further information and availability visit
www.castle-accommodation.com Tel: 01584 874 465
To book space call Natasha +44 (0)207 349 3732
BRITAIN’S CHOICE – take a tour and make the most of your holiday
Private Small Group Tours
England, Scotland and Ireland
WALKING HOLIDAYS IN WALES
Explore the spectacular scenery, history and wildlife of the Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion Coasts Daily guided walks with Welsh speaking guide. Full-board with home-cooked food and wine, log fires, croquet, coracling. Relaxed house-party atmosphere. 7, 6 or 4 night breaks. Singles, couples & groups all welcome. Short breaks also available in Brecon Beacons and Welsh Marches. For brochure ring Richard: 01600-750463 or visit
Experience up to 5,000 years of British history and culture including pre-history, castles, grand houses, battlefields, Roman Britain, architecture, industrial history, scenery, gardens, Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Cotswolds, Lake District, Whisky Tours and much more. Private tours arranged by an experienced and bonded tour guide, self-drive tours also available. Tel: +44 (0)141 638 5500 Website: www.catswhiskerstours.co.uk Blog: www.catswhiskerstours.com Hidden britain1-4 30/1/09 14:53 Page 1 Direct e-mail: email@example.com
Jane Austen The Dancing Years
Explore Jane Austen’s early life with Hampshire Ambassador, Phil Howe. Discover the villages, churches, country houses and trace the people she describes in her letters.
Tel: +44 (0)1955 611 353
Tours can include a visit to the Jane Austen House Museum, and the village of Chawton. Enjoy lunch at a Hampshire country inn. An ideal halfday or one-day tour. Downton Abbey Tours when available. 45 mins by train from London Waterloo
For more information Phone: +44 (0)1256 814222 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hiddenbritaintours.co.uk
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A place of contrasts and surprises. Discover the spirit of a once great abbey and the elegance of a Georgian water garden at this World Heritage Site in North Yorkshire. 01765 608888 nationaltrust.org.uk/fountainsabbey
Photo: Ron Rutten
Faulty towers the Dining experience www.faultytowers-uk.com Charing Cross hotel, the strand, london, WC2n 5hX t: 0845 154 4145 e: email@example.com
asil, Sybil and Manuel serve a three-course meal with a good dollop of mayhem and all the best gags in a ‘two-hour eat, drink and laugh sensation’ (Daily Telegraph). This is the same five-star, West End show that tours the world, taking in major arts festivals and even Sydney Opera House. Highly improvised and fully immersive, it’s ‘a rip-roaringly hilarious night out’ (This is London). Booking is essential.
information: Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is performed evenings and matinées friday to sunday throughout the year. tickets cost between £47 and £54; all tickets include a three-course meal and two-hour interactive show.
To book space call Natasha +44 (0)207 349 3732
The beauty of
Whisky is essential, haggis a must and bagpipes a bonus when Scotland celebrates the life of its favourite son, Robert Burns WORDS MARTHA ALEXANDER
IMAGES: © TIM HILL/ALAMY/NIDAY PICTURE LIBRARY
f you’re invited to supper in Scotland on 25 January then be prepared for your host to be wearing a skirt and talking to the food. “Trenching your gushing entrails bright,” he will say, slipping a knife into a mush of sheep’s heart, lungs and liver. “O what a glorious sight,/ Warm-reekin, rich!” Don’t be disturbed, however, for this is Burns Night – one of Scotland’s most glorious celebrations and homage to the country’s favourite poet. Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Ayrshire in the west of Scotland in 1759 (the little dwelling is now called Burns Cottage and home to a museum, run by the National Trust for Scotland). The ‘Ayrshire Bard’, as he is known, worked primarily as a farmer, but when his first edition of poetry was published in 1786 it sold out within a month. He promptly moved to Edinburgh in order to publish more. Burns’ poems were popular, and have lasting appeal, because of how he managed to communicate universal emotions so acutely. His most famous works include Auld Lang Syne and My Luve is a like a Red Red Rose. The Burns Night tradition started five years after his death in 1796 at the age of 37. A small group of his friends wanted to honour his life and works and did so with an intimate meal where they recited Burns’ poems. The evening was such a success the group arranged to meet each year on 25 January, Burns’ birthday. That custom is now an international institution: Burns Night is celebrated all over the world in festivities that cement the poet’s status as Scotland’s most renowned and cherished poet. Almost needless to say, Burns Night calls for a nod to Scottish heritage when it comes to dress; guests should arrive wearing anything from full kilt to tartan accessories.
The Selkirk Grace, which is recited as a means of thanksgiving before supper, is often erroneously attributed to Burns but isn’t one of his works. It was already known as the Galloway Grace and was once narrated by Burns at a dinner given by the Earl of Selkirk. One of the main components of Burns Night is the ritual of the feast. This will typically include cock-a-leekie soup, haggis, parsnips (known as ‘neeps’) and potatoes (known as ‘tatties’). The neeps and tatties are usually served mashed. The meal is finished off with clootie dumpling, a sweet dessert of breadcrumbs, currants, suet, sugar and spices baked inside a tied up strip of cloth or ‘clootie’. The most important of these dishes is the haggis, a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs). The presentation of this is traditionally accompanied by the playing of bagpipes. With the food on the table, one of Burns’ most famous poems Address to a Haggis is delivered, usually by the host: “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face/Great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race!” During this recital, the haggis is sliced open from one end to the other and then, finally, the company will join in a whisky toast to the poet. (Throughout the supper whisky is drunk in abundant toasts: both malts and blends are acceptable.) After the meal has been eaten there are speeches given in honour of Burns, each known as Immortal Memory. Burns Night will always end with the joining of hands and the singing of Auld Lang Syne.
8 Homecoming Scotland 2014 will be a special year, with a wide range of events on offer across the country. In Dumfries, the home of the world’s biggest Burns Night celebration, there will be a huge carnival parade. www.homecomingscotland.com
Main image: A traditional Burns Night supper of haggis, neeps and tatties and whisky. Top: The poet Robert Burns
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