Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Witley Court

Wherever we go our love of history and the past seems to follow us, we can escape the vintage shop for a week but we can't escape a bit of history.  And so when we go on holiday inevitably there is the odd trip to a country estate, some costume museums or a town filled with vintage markets and shops to explore- and this year was no different.  However, rather than share every last one of these experiences with you (in the manner of a 1970s slideshow after a dinner party) we decided to share just two places with you.  The first is just a little bit different from all the other country estates we visited, lovely as they were none struck us quite as much as Witley Court. The other post is about The Museum of Lost Content, once again this is a museum like no other.

We visited Witley Court in Worcestershire recently on our holiday, if you have ever been there you will know this is a country estate like no other.  A 19th Century mansion which was home to the aristocracy and been through many alterations before it reached its final impressive architecture. It is enormous and beautiful, with a huge and impressive fountain.  However, rather than nestling in impressive cultivated grounds, it now sits surrounded by farmland since much of the extended grounds were sold off. And if you climb the stairs to the front entrance do not expect to be greeted by a wall of glimmering windows, rather a empty facade.  Through the impressively large entrance you enter to see not paintings of historical figures or antique furniture but instead a shell of what once was obviously a beautiful home.  The plaster is all but fallen away, there are no floors above you but the sky and even the impressive Victorian conservatory is now home to outdoor plants and wildlife.
Witley Court is an empty shell after a fire which desolated one wing, followed by a subsequent owner buying it to strip bare for the materials they could sell.  It is stands as it was left, slowly crumbling (and then being supported again by the English Heritage) and can be seen as a testament to human nature - greedy, careless but still romantic and proud.  For although this beautiful building was pulled apart for the money it could garner instead of nurturing it back to its former beauty, it still remains.  And it stands not as a blot on the landscape but a beautiful reminder of a glorious past.
If you are ever in the area we strongly recommend a visit, it may not be a whole day's visit but it's certainly an afternoon well spent. Although be warned, although we enjoyed the visit it left us feeling very slightly melancholy at seeing this once great building which was so obviously filled with history, families, memories and parties now left empty and cold.

Note: Lesley's Girls have had some technical problems on the website recently hence the lack of blogging activity.  We hope the issues on the website in the last couple of weeks have not spoiled your visits to our site.

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