Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Knole Park NT # 28

Knole Park is the last medieval deer park in Kent and is home to a 350 strong wild herd. The deer are descendants from those hunted by Henry VIII and roam freely on the 1000 acres of parkland.

I arranged to meet up with an old college friend here so we could explore Knole House together. As I was early I wandered around the magnificent grounds breathing in the scenery.

The main house is owned and managed by the National Trust (from 1946) but a substantial part of the property, land and gardens is still owned and lived in by the Sackville family. I had not done my homework when I suggested meeting V here as one, it is not disabled friendly and two, the gardens are only open to the public on a Tuesday and today was Thursday! However we still had a good time not least because I directed her into the disabled car park and stood waiting by the driver's door to help her out. So what you might think! Well unfortunately it was not her car, nor her driving, just some poor lady terrified of opening the car door because this strange woman was standing there waiting! V was in another parking space watching and wondering what on earth I was doing. From then on we couldn't stop laughing.

Knole began life as a medieval manor until Bourchier, the Archbishop of Canterbury bought the 12th cent estate in 1456 and converted it into the building we see today.
It wasn't long before Henry VIII desired it and was given it as a gift. It remained in the hands of Royalty until 1603 when Thomas Sackville purchased the freehold and it has remained in that family ever since.

You enter Knole through this stone gatehouse leading you into a courtyard. There is a second gatehouse to the inner courtyard around which are the main staterooms.

Photography is not allowed in the staterooms so I cannot show you the vast collections of textiles, silver, portraits and royal furniture which are on display. As Lord Chamberlain. Charles Sackville could take his pick of unwanted royal furnishings. As no new monarch ever wanted reminders of previous monarchs he was able to take virtually all the royal Stuart furniture from Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace. It is said the Knole house now has the largest collection of royal Stuart furniture in the world.

The orangery was the only building I could photograph.

I did take a couple of sneaky photos of the Great staircase.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Above the Underground - Theydon Bois

This is the second of the stations I am visiting on the Central Line. Click here to find out more.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Window dressing

The month of September was London Design month and as such  some of the windows in Regent Street had dressed their windows in collaboration with architects. I went along to take some photos. However it didn't work out that well as I couldn't avoid the reflections but it has made a perfect post for Weekend Reflections. Some have been designed by architects and others by the shop's own window dressers.









I have put an A beneath the architect designed windows.
Sharing with James at  Weekend Reflections

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wilton's Music Hall

I found this gem of a building in an Alley in Wapping close to the River Thames. I have walked around here many times and never come across it before but Open House drew my attention to the building.  For those of you who know London it is about 5 mins walk from St Katherine's Dock.

Through this door is Wilton's Music Hall and  is the oldest of its kind in the world,being the only survivor of the Grand(giant pub) Music Hall.

Originally it was 4 terraced houses built in the 1690s which had various alterations over the years, but have remained more or less unchanged since Wilton built a music hall across the backyards of the houses making them into one building in 1858. He installed the Hall with the best lighting, heating and ventilation systems available.

                                       There are twelve barley sugar columns that hold up the balcony

Seating at the back of the auditorium.

In 1888 the building was bought by the local Wesleyan Mission and used by them until the 1950s. The mission fed 2000 people a day during the docker's strike of 1889, housed the first Ethiopian working men's club in the 1920s and offered shelter during two world wars for the people of the East London.

When the Methodists left, Wilton's became a rag warehouse and was eventually left empty, falling derelict from 1956 onwards. It was saved from the slum clearance schemes of the 1960s and became a Grade II listed building. A trust was formed in 2004 to bring the building back to life.  Due to successful fundraising between 2012 and 2015 enough money was raised to sensitively repair Wilton's and from last week is now fully open with a full programme of plays and events.

The staircase takes you up to a number of small rooms which now look as though they might be used as rehearsal or meeting rooms

In the auditorium you can still see the original painted plasterwork.

 The renovation has not added any modern features and looking down on the stage and auditorium from the balcony you get a real feel for those Victorian evenings spent in this Music Hall

The building has been used in  films and this poster was part of the film set for 'Death Defying Acts' starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Guy Pearce. I look forward to seeing a production here in the future.