A few weekends ago we did our final re-enactment show of the year at Caldicot Castle, in Wales. It was the furthest I have ever driven in one go since passing me test so on the way back mum booked us a hotel so we could split the journey in two and visit a few National Trust properties on the way.
I have always loved Caldicot, with it being the final show of the year everyone is in really good spirits, and it feels like a real celebration of the season! After the battle me and some friends took the chance to take a few photos in kit. It was the first show where I wore my new dress, made by yours truly!
The first Trust property we visited on the drive home was Croome Park. I have visited Croome in my very first week at Uni, but that was before the Trust had purchased the house. The Trust have now owned the house for about 5 years and since it has always been in private ownership there is extensive conservation work to be done. When we visited the property they were having a huge set of scaffolding being built on one end.
Inside the building there is no collection, most of the furniture that is now in there is from Ikea and any decorative pieces have been represented with drawings on hard board. Interesting enough they do know where many of the pieces that once belonged in the house are now, but it is mostly museums and private collections now, with little hope of bringing it all back together.
The interpretation of the rooms has been done in a really interesting way, the information was printed onto fabric that was suspended in a metal frame, echoing the scaffolding around the exterior. Each stand also had a drawing of the people that it was talking about. I have never seen any other trust interpretation done in the same manner.
The information in the house presented its entire history, talking about all the different occupants and not just the family that had once called it home, I really liked that. A different aspect of the story was talked about in each room and it was all brought together on the Dining Room table.
My favorite room was the Dining Room, where the original plaster work on the walls had been painted by the International Society of Krishna Consciousness that once lived at Croome. Apparently there had been a public vote as to whether to leave the paint or to strip it back, and I’m glad it has been left as it is so pretty and colourful!
At the moments there is so much work to be done at Croome, and it is going to need a lot of funding. Only a few rooms are open at the moment, and the stanchions roping them off have these little notes to peak people’s interest in the ongoing project. However, it must be quite liberating to have a blank canvas to work with, and such a rich and interesting collection of stories to draw inspiration from.
The visit feels very much like a ‘work in progress’ but I will be really interested to see where it goes.