Showing posts with label National Trust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Trust. Show all posts

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Ightham Mote

I took a decadent midweek day off and went to Ightham Mote with friends.

It's a National Trust property in North Kent and as the name suggests, it does have a moat.
But this 'Mote' means to meet, to assemble, nothing to do with that water, originally built as an medieval assembly hall.

Ightham Mote is built from Kent Ragstone from a quarry, still there, a mile and a half away. With each owner came the desire to extend and modernise it.
In 1612 the Selby family inherited it and were given a new fireplace as a moving-in present. Unfortunately no-one thought to measure the space and it didn't fit, it was too tall. Undeterred they raised the ceiling on that side of the house.

We had to admit it was worth all the effort, it is a great fireplace.

Dorothy Bonham was the woman responsible for this fireplace. This is her portrait, her younger self, pictured with an open collar, declaring herself available for marriage. It worked, she married William Selby.  

Here, she is a married woman, closed ruff, pictured with a 'ghost', wished for child. They both loved kids, but sadly never had any. 

Dorothy Selby died by her own hand. It's not what you're thinking. She was a prolific needle worker and pricked her finger with a dodgy needle. She died of Septicaemia within a week.

Whether as an homage to Dorothy or not, there is quite a bit of needlework to been seen around Ightham Mote.
3D flowers, cross-stitch and embroidery in the housekeeper's room.

 Children's samplers on the landing.

Trimmings on the curtains.

Not textiles, yet this 18th century hand-painted Chinese wallpaper captured our imagination.

Below stairs, extracts from a kitchen maid's diary tell us that the crypt was used as an air-raid shelter in the Second World War.

Bequeathed to the National Trust in 1985, they continued to make changes. Restoring and conserving Ightham Mote has taken 15 years, at a cost of  £10 million.

Archaeological finds from the last nearly 700 years are on display reflecting the most extraordinary life of the house and its occupants; Medieval, Tudor, Victorian and 20th century.

Not all occupants are wanted though. There's a rat in the kitchen.

More about Ightham Mote and visiting informational on the National Trust website here

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Roman Bath?

Reading other people's blogs, I'm loving hearing about so many museums that I've never heard of before. Like the Flora Twort Gallery mentioned by Lisa in her post, 'Day Tripping' to Petersfield, read it here. That is now on my 'to visit' list.
Then there are the places you didn't even know existed until you stumbled upon them in a city you thought you knew quite well.
Like the National Trust Roman Bath just off the Strand, London.

I was heading to Two Temple Place with a friend, you can read about our visit here, when we spotted this small sign above an archway. 'ROMAN BATH, DOWN STEPS TURN RIGHT'.
So we did.

And found ourselves in Strand Lane, a tiny alleyway, at The National Trust Roman Baths.
Walking down these deserted alleyways, if it wasn't for the sign, it kind of felt like we were discovering this two thousand year old Roman relic ourselves. 

These baths are 'said' to be Roman.
But the bricks used to build them are more like Tudor bricks
and it lies four foot six below ground level, Roman remains would usually be deeper. 

The first written record of these Roman Baths dates back to 1784, a "fine antique bath" in the cellar of a house in Norfolk Street in The Strand. And "William Wedell, a collector, died from a sudden internal chill when bathing there in 1792".
Dickens mentioned them too, in 1850. David Copperfield took many cold plunges in the old Roman Baths, "at the bottom of one of the streets out of the Strand".

At the end of the 19th century, these cold plunging baths were recommended by the medical profession as "the most pure and healthy bath in London ensuring every comfort and convenience to those availing themselves of this luxury". 

Not so much luxury today, but still cold. They are fed by a stream, with the rate of flow being about two thousand gallons a day. I still think there's a risk of a 'sudden internal chill'.
And the windows could really do with a bit of a clean.

To see them you have to turn the lights on

and look through very misty, grubby windows.

They sit here silently, looking dormant, but there's a serious amount of water flowing through this pool.

Roman Baths?
Their origin is a mystery. I'll leave you with a challenge set by the National Trust,
"...meanwhile it is open to the visitor to believe that it is indeed a relic of Roman London or to accept some such theory as set out above".
If you're passing, check them out and make your own mind up.
And National Trust, if you're passing, please give those windows a clean.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Horsey Windpump

This is Horsey Windpump,
a wind powered drainage pump, now a National Trust property,
by Horsey Mere on the Norfolk Broads.
Right by where we moored up for the night.

I haven't been to many windpumps
but with memories of Camberwick Green and Windy Miller,
I naively assumed that all mills milled flour.

However I should have put two and two together,
we saw a lot of water
and not much wheat.

To explain what this windpump did,
once powered by wind, now powered by diesel,
"an often easily understood analogy
is that of the pump pumping water off a bathroom floor up into the bath
and out through the plug hole into the sea."
Here's the thing,
many rivers of the Norfolk Broads are higher than the surrounding land.

Easily understood analogy or not,
the work of the windpump was vital.

Horsey Windpump was a wind powered drainage pump
until it was put out of action by a lightning strike in 1943.
This was during the Second World War
and it was left unrepaired due to a shortage of timber.

They would have needed Scandinavian Pine for the vertical shaft,

 and Hornbeam for any wooden teeth on the cogwheels.

The broads and rivers take this water out to sea,
providing holiday makers over the years with fabulous places to play

and to moor up for the night.

 As with all good National Trust properties, there's the obligatory tea shop. 

The smallest National Trust tea shop that I've ever been to,
with the kindest proprietor.
Moored up with no bread for our lunch,
she picked me up a loaf from the co-op, on her way to work.

Whilst you're there,
a less-than-a-mile walk to takes you to the coast.
Where you may/will (depending on the time of year)
be rewarded with seals.

For more information and some photos of the windpump with sails still attached,

If Camberwick Green means nothing to you?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...