Monday, 4 July 2011

Three 4 Eleven - part 1 - Hughenden Manor

I realise -  over 2 months on -  that I have yet to tell you all about the wondrous 11 days for 3 that I had. Yes -  I was one of the crafty so and so's that booked the 3 days between Easter and the Bank Holiday off of work. The day it was announced that we would be having an extra day. I sat back and mocked, openly, those around me that had failed to do the same. I am sure I shall pay for such mockery at some stage.  

I was a little bit more excited about the Royal Wedding than I thought possible. But before that, the Beard and I celebrated Easter with my family. We then thought " what's next?". We have National Trust membership which we shamefully only really use for car parking on the various walks we partake in - occasional walks at that. What a right royal waste of money! So, we decided to claw some back.

We started off by visiting Hughenden Manor -  former home of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. I knew not much of the man before I entered and I have to say that I came out pretty much the same way. Mainly because I spent too much time wandering around going "oooh" and "ahhh" at the pretties on display rather than reading any of the blurb next to things. It is quite an intimate place, but it is vast and not a lot of it is on display. I did grab some snaps -  including the below.

Yes -  this is Queen Mary, Grand Mother to Elizabeth II. I do have an interest in this lady, primarily from a WW1 perspective. There is a small tin that bares her name that was given to front line soldiers during the Christmas of 1914. It contained smokes, chocolate and other little luxuries. I am lucky enough to own one, by proxy. I bagged one on eBay for my Dad last year. It became his Christmas present.

And here is me in the exact same spot. I have to say, I became a little bit excited by the creation of this picture, much to the exasperation of The Beard. He is a very patient lad.

 View from one of the glorious rooms. Me trying to be vaguely arty. Slight fail.

I do love the blatant rivalry between Disraeli and Gladstone, and this quote made me literally laugh out loud.

Now, all the prime ministerial stuff was all very lovely. But, it was the basement which captured my attention for the whole place. Fully. For, it was here, during WW2 when the estate was commandeered for secret operations. Operations that have only recently come to light in the public domain. 

Hughenden Manor was known as Operation Hillside and was at the top of the Nazi "to bomb" list. And with good reason. Under a strict "if-I-told-you-I'd-have-to-kill-you" mentality, artists worked on map drawings of potential raid areas throughout this estate. Hughenden is where the Dambuster plot was formed.

I felt slightly perturbed by the lack of head but ample feet and shoes on this mannequin.

And where better to store a bike? And to pose for a photo?

But, oh my, for me, the best was yet to come. A whole 1940's living space. That looks oddly like my own front room. Minus the typewriter and Singer sewing machine.

Oh hello... do come in... have a cuppa?

And that completed our trip. Apart from a quick squiz round the gardens when I discovered a decent setting on my naff camera. There is me trying to be arty again. I shall cease soon, I promise.

Plenty more updates to come... two more parts in fact. There is a lesson to be learnt here. Less etsy shopping - more blogging!

Over and out!


  1. I remember seeing Queen Mary when I was a child....dressed just like that, entirely in shades of mauve.

  2. It looks really interesting. Great photo of you with the bike and love the Queen Mary pose too!

  3. What a fabulous day out! I've been thinking of getting National Trust membership but I suspect I will also waste it and not use it enough which is a shame!

  4. You look so at home in those pictures! x

  5. I love Hughenden! These photos are superb, love them. Especially the arty ones! :)

    That sewing machine looks a bit like the one in MY living room now! Ha ha I better actually get to making something with it, hadn't I?

    The quotes are fab. I can't imaging Cam and Co coming out with quips like that nowadays, what a shame.

  6. Your photos are always lovely (and presumably the boy's too, as I guess he takes the ones you're in!). Love you in the same place as Queen Mary, that kind of thing is so fascinating.

    Mr Chazza Shopping and I had planned to be grown up for our anniversary outing and do National trust (Churchill's place) but it turns out loads of them are shut on a Tuesday, so the less classy surroundings of E1 it was!

  7. You go to such lovely places, you fit right in all the rooms amor.

  8. I have a soft spot for Disraeli for one reason - when his time as PM was over, it would have been normal for Queen Victoria to give him a peerage. However, he asked her to give any recognition he would have had to his wife, who was ill. She spent her last months happily embroidering her new monogram on things.

    Looking at your height in the photo, Queen Mary must have been tiny!

  9. How awesome, the 1940s room is fab! Have you seen the see the secret war tunnels at Dover Castle? x

  10. This is going straight on my list of places to visit on my next trip to the UK. So many 1940s options on offer over your way now.

    Oh and I think I just became your 200th follower. What a nice thing - I like a round number.

  11. Mim - I LOVE that story about his wife!
    PDV - i sure have!! They are uber creepy!
    Caitlin - well hello & thanks very much!

  12. This place is amazing, I totally have to go!

  13. You look right at home in those pictures - especially the one with the bicycle! I love going to places like this - you've inspired me to find some more. May have to gag and restrain the toddler, though. Hmm.

  14. errr, I think I maybe becoming your comment stalker but I live 2 miles from Hughenden :S and know and love it well

  15. I'm a volunteer at Hughenden manor and agree that the WW2 displays do echo my childhood home. You didn't discover the beehives that are not only an interesting volunteer project, they link the WW2 aspects of Hughenden as well as having links to Disraeli? The dig for victory campaign during WW2 extended to promoting bee keeping to increase yields and so there was a sugar ration for beekeepers - at one stage dyed green to avoid it entering the black market. As for Disraeli, his father kept bees and Disraeli gave bee brooches to some of his lady supporters including one of Queen Victoria's daughters, Beatrice. The walled garden is another part of Hughenden developed over recent years and was presumably important during wartime. We have a record of the project online - search for Hughenden Buzz Wordpress. Do come and see us either when we have a 'meet the Beekeepers' session or when we inspect the bees - usually on a Tuesday afternoon.


I'd love to hear what you think so feel free to comment away!


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