Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Wrest Park


Wrest Park was taken over by English Heritage in 2007 and thus began the process of restoring the property which had been neglected and hidden from public view for half a century.


The gardens including this "Italian" garden are beginning to show how wonderful this property must have been in its heyday.


These formal gardens survive from the original house and gardens which were laid out originally in the early eighteenth century for Henry Grey, the first Duke of Kent.


The present house was built in the 1830s to designs by the owner, Thomas de Grey, based on the kind of architecture that was fashionable in France at the time. restoration is still taking place but here are some photos from the part of the house which is open to the public at present.






How's that for an ornate ceiling?
Meanwhile outside there's also a French inspired garden with much statuary:


And a rose garden which was indicated on an old drawing has been re-created:


A long, long avenue leads down in front of the house, initially gravel near the house, then a lovely lawn, followed by a large body of water and finally an elegant pavilion:




On either side of this main avenue are woodlands with hidden treasures like this little "Chinese temple":


The whole restoration project is expected to take 20-odd years. If I'm still around I look forward to seeing the final result.



Take care.  

18 comments:

  1. That photograph looking down the drive from the terrace doesn't take much imagination John to see it as it would have been seen in earlier times.
    I always wonder though about these old houses and how one kept warm. Yes they have enormous fire places but there are always spots well away from the fire where it must have been freezing cold in Winter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure you're right. It explains why, in period dramas, everyone seems to wear coats inside, ladies wear gloves too. We've just got soft!

      Delete
  2. It looks very nice now, what more can be done in 20 more years? Unless it is inside out which was not yet open to view to the public.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many rooms inside the main house still need further work, apparently you can tour them on certain days. There is a huge walled-garden - the sort of place where in former times all the fresh produce and cut flowers for the house were grown. At the moment this is mostly weeds though a few fruit trees have been planted and need time to become established. The woodland walks off either side of the main avenue and many of the smaller buildings need work. The Orangerie is decidedly lacking any oranges! There was probably a "home farm" too in a place this size - not sure if that will one day be open to the public. All this will attract extra visitors so more facilities will be needed for them. And of course they will have to maintain all the parts which are already open! So I guess they'll keep busy!

      Delete
  3. Wow! The house and gardens look awesome John! I wish I lived in a house like that, without the expense of the upkeep of course. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's certainly worth restoration! --looks pretty right now. If only I could tour all those gardens, too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow! Just, wow! It's hard to imagine people actually living in a place like that. It's so unimaginably sumptuous. Gorgeous doesn't begin to describe it. I think you could fit my entire cabin in about half of that entry area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...and you could walk the dog without even going outside!

      Delete
  6. You have a history like few other nations and buildings to match. I'm glad to see that it is taken care of.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hooray for English Heritage - they look to be doing a great job and so faithful to the original. It would be such a shame if a place like this was lost, it's beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  8. How beautiful! Think how many people it must have taken to maintain the place. Do you know why it was neglected? Did the family go broke?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Looks like a very elegant residence.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A beautiful place and many beautiful photos. It already looks wonderful. It is hard to imagine how lush it might become after years more of restoration.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, a magnificent property, beautifully photographed! I am happy to see such national treasures rescued and restored for the public to appreciate. It is an outstanding project John.

    ReplyDelete
  12. A very impressive and sumptuous property John. I have to admit the much less formal woodlands would attract me more though. Your photos are lovely, the rose garden is really pretty.

    I also left a comment on the previous post.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh my goodness! The gardens are looking beautiful. The last time I saw photos of these gardens, they still looked overgrown. (That was quite a while ago.)

    ReplyDelete
  14. WOW! This is very impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Stunning flower beds John. The whole place reminds me of the Palace of Versailles, but on a much smaller scale.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'll try to answer any questions via a comment or e-mail within the next day or two (no hard questions, please!).