Sunday, 20 December 2015

Hughenden Manor, High Wickham, Buckinghamshire

Hughenden Manor
Following the theme of using our National Trust Membership, we decided to visit Hughenden Manor near High Wickham. I love stately homes - anything that resembles a stately home is an instant winning point for me. I love the way the look and I am fascinated by the history that surrounds them. 

Hughenden Manor is best known as the home of Benjamin Disraeli. Disraeli was a Conservative Prime minister in 1852. Queen Victoria was a strong advocate of him and invited him to be Prime Minister after his spell as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is best known for his fierce political rivalry with William Gladstone. It is said that the two men couldn't have been more different or have more different opinions on matters. Gladstone was a member of the rich middle upper class - he was educated at Eton and then at Christ Church, Oxford. He was described as being torrential, eloquent and evangelical. Whereas Disraeli's parents were of Italian Jewish descent - he was educated at obscure schools and never went to university. He was described as urbane, witty with a streak of romance - he had the gift of flattery. The rivarly between the two was so intense that Disraeli's robe as Chancellor (which was passed on and worn by consecutive Chancellors since the 18th Century)should have been passed onto his successor and political rival Gladstone. However, when the time came, he couldn't bare to give it to his rival and  he hid the robe away at Hughenden manor. The robe is currently on display in the Bartolozzi Room.

Christmas Mice
We visited the manor very close to Christmas so the whole house was themed with "A Visit From Saint Nicholas".  There were many events on to get children excited and the event became a family day out. There was even a mouse scavenger event - small hand knitted mice were scattered throughout the house and the children were asked to count how many they could find in the rooms! This did not detract from the history in the house or the amazing National Trust Volunteers who have banks of knowledge. It was wonderful to learn so much about a man I had never heard of in such a small amount of time and by people who are really interested in his life.

In the library was a huge christmas tree, surrounded by presents - enough to get even the biggest of Christmas Grinches into that well loved Christmas spirit. In the bedroom were sugar plum fairies dancing on the walls and in the dinning room was a Jelly Tea Party. The events didn't stop in the manor, there was even a grotto and a game to find all of Santa's reindeer. It is these small events put on in these places of great history that really differentiates the National Trust - that makes them ever so important in retaining our history and ensuring children of the future want to visit and want to learn.

Christmas Tree!

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