Historically... Wimpole Hall


I'm back again....

I love history. Specifically historical houses and the history of art. Historical Houses really became a thing after I read Phillipa Gregory's books. She brings the locations to life and allows the reader to feel like they know the palaces and manors that her books are set in.

In June this year I went to one of the strangest historical houses I have ever been to- Wimpole Hall.

The beautiful 1740's facade. Brick and Portland stone.

Wimpole Hall is a National Trust estate, consisting of a working walled gardens, farm and a bizarre manor house.

The Hall has a strange and convoluted history, regularly changing to fit with the popular styles of the time and the owner's tastes, eventually left as an odd mish-mash of all of it's history.

It's an excellent way to walk through time.

Originally, it was a smaller building owned by the Chicheley Family but was rebuilt after roughly 215 years (in 1640's). It was sold (due to debts) in 1686 to Edward Harley. He built a large library but was a little ambitious with his book and art collection and later had to sell the house due to debts.

Part of the library. It originally housed around 10,000 Books

Wimpole was bought in 1739 by Lord Harwicke.

The Harwicke family made many changes to the estate. The 1st Earl rebuilt the North and South Facades. The 2nd Earl paid for Capability Brown (a famous Landscape Gardener of the time) to redesign the Grounds. The 3rd Earl redesigned the interior (again). The 4th Earl built onto house again, with useful additions as a larger servants wing and stable block.

The 5th Earl, (nicknamed 'Champagne Charlie') lost the estate to large gambling debts.

The 'Marble' pillars were painted wood. (Possibly installed at one point during debts- to look expensive)

The hall eventually went to Lord Robartes, but was generally not the main residence for the family.

It got rented out to Captain and Mrs Bambridge in 1937 and was sold to them a few years later.

The Bambridges got the house empty, filling it with lots of lower quality items and art pieces that they liked -instead of high quality status pieces. Their love of interesting decorations and furniture gives the house an odd vibe.

The architecture and landscaping are high quality and show off the wealth of the previous tenants.

The decoration doesn't seem to fit with the house and seems to just be things that Captain and Elsie Bambridge liked. After her Husband died, she bequeathed it to National trust upon her death.

The house was so much fun and the room guides were generally brilliant at offering information and answering questions. As well as some odd additions to the house (a chapel, huge and strange plunge pool room, etc,.) the downstairs servants quarters were open.

One of my favourite things to see in historical houses are the servants quarters and the kitchens. I don't really know why, but it brings an atmosphere to the place and feels more realistic - like I can really see people bustling about and getting the house in order.

Gratuatious Selfie

The Grounds were beautiful and the farm was interesting to see. The Walled Garden was an excellent opportunity to take lots of photos, although I seem to have lost most of the ones I took.

The farm and walled gardens produce food for the cafes and the farm shop, which is brilliant for those looking local produce.

The farm was busy with families, and there were lots of things going on for young kids and animal lovers. Horses were walked around the stables and visitors were allowed to stroke and take photos by them. The Pigs seemed to get the most attention, as there were loads of piglets when we visited. Sheep and Goats were also to be found on the farm, and I spent ages trying to get a good picture of the lambs.

Here are some of the surviving photos...

It was a wonderful day out and the house really impressed and intrigued me.

I would definitely recommend Wimpole Hall if you are ever near Cambridgeshire.

Check it out - Wimpole Hall

Anyway, That's all for now folks.

Have a bloody lovely evening and be marvellous.

#NationalTrust #History #HistoricalHouses #WimpoleHall #Gardens #WalledGardens

Artist, Writer and Photographer