Tuesday 13 September 2022
(11am-4pm Meet at 10.50am in the entrance area)
- Wrest Park, Silsoe, Bedfordshire MK45 4HR
- Lecturer: Dr Peter Moore
The site is in the ownership of English Heritage www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/wrest-park/. Members with English Heritage cards can have a reduced price ticket but must produce the membership card on the day.
The day will include a visit to the house with particular reference to rooms of interest but not normally accessible on the visitor tour route, a talk/lecture mainly about the repatriation of paintings, a visit to the Collections Store and discussion about the garden statuary. There will be time to explore the remainder of the parkland, the Archer Pavilion and revisiting the house all at your own leisure. The site is open from 10am to 5pm.
Please make your own arrangements for travel, lunch and coffee. For access by car, postcode MK45 4HR and the site has plenty of car parking. Train services on Thameslink through the City and London St Pancras International to Flitwick take about 50 minutes. Wrest Park is about 5 miles from Flitwick and taxis are available (e.g. Flitwick Taxis 01525 405060 which can be prebooked). For lunch there is a good café on the site or there is a picnic area in the grounds if you bring your own food.
Thomas Philip, 3rd Lord Grantham, who became the 2nd Earl de Grey, was an amateur architect of some distinction and incidentally first president of the (Royal) Institute of British Architects. He designed every aspect of the house as it now stands, the details of which are set down in a remarkable forty-five-page letter written in the 1840s. To superintend the execution in 1834-9 he engaged the little-known architect James Clephan. The House is absolutely French in style – something unique in England in the 1830s and the product of de Grey’s visits to Paris after 1815 as well as his study of French architectural books of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which he held in his library. The gardens have a complex history which has origins in the mid-seventeenth century with various subsequent interventions.