Brodsworth Hall and Gardens Houses
Savour the poignant atmosphere of this fully furnished Victorian country house with its original contents carefully conserved by English Heritage. There are over 30 rooms on view ranging from the faded grandeur of the sumptuous reception rooms to the cluttered remains of the fascinating servants wing with its great kitchen from the age of Mrs Beaton.
The house is set within enchanting Victorian period gardens which are a setting for special events throughout the season.
The gardens are a triumph of 1860's design and are now being painstakingly restored to their appearance at the time of their maturity. Beyond the terrace and croquet lawns, bordered by clipped evergreen shrubberies dotted with marble statues, is the flower garden with its display of authentic period bedding plants. From the newly restored summerhouse views are afforded into the romantic quarried garden with its paths, bridges, garden buildings and vistas. Of special interest is the rock garden and fern dell, planted with many rare ferns and unusual specimens.
New for 2004: Maids and Mistresses - 150 years of life for family and working women at Brodsworth.
Charles Sabine Augustus Thellusson inherited the Brodsworth estate in 1859 and decided to commission a new mansion to replace the old 18th-century house. Designed in the Italianate style and decorated and furnished in the opulent fashion of the 1860s, it retains much of its original scheme to this day, making it one of England's most complete surviving Victorian country houses.
Inside the entrance hall, the marbled walls and scagliola columns form a prelude to the splendours of the inner halls and reception rooms beyond. Rich, decorative schemes are found throughout the house, with the halls forming an elegant setting for a succession of marble statues. The Drawing Room boasts a superbly painted ceiling, crimson silk damask wall coverings, chandeliers and gilt-framed mirrors.The Dining and Billiard Rooms are more masculine, with collections of paintings and silver, and furniture in rich mahogany.
In the 20th century, successive members of the family met rising costs by reducing the number of rooms in use and the number of staff looking after them. Gradually, the house fell into decay and the servants' wing was abandoned, leaving a clutter of furniture from a bygone age. English Heritage decided to conserve rather than restore the interior, retaining the faded, original finishes and worn furnishings, to preserve the patina of age recounting the tale of how a once-opulent Victorian house has grown comfortably old and is now inviting to all.
The gardens, too, are a copybook example of 1860s design. They have been substantially restored to their appearance at the time of their maturity. Beyond the terrace and croquet lawns bordered by clipped, evergreen shrubberies and marble statues is the flower garden, with its fine display of authentic period bedding plants. From the newly restored summerhouse, views are afforded into the romantic quarry garden, with its paths, bridges, garden buildings and vistas. Of special interest is the rock garden and fern dell, planted with many rare ferns and unusual specimens. Much new planting has taken place throughout the garden in the past few years, ranging from spring bulbs to a wide variety of hollies. The recently restored woodland garden is the latest feature to be enjoyed. The restoration of the gardens will carry on for several more years following the award of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Now, the former inhabitants of the Hall and gardens tell their story. A new trail and exhibition, employing photographs, objects and portraits, shows what life was like for women at Brodsworth, charting how their roles in the country house changed over time. 'Maids and Mistresses' goes in search of the elusive voices and experiences of women over the last 150 years. Other exhibitions at the Hall include: 'Serving the House', 'Discovering Chintz', 'Family Life' and 'The Gardens'.
AddressDoncaster, Doncaster, Yorkshire, DN5 7XJ
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