CALKE ABBEY – THE UNSTATELY HOME

The National Trust presents Calke Abbey as an illustration of the English country house in decline. Displays show how house was left when abandoned in the 1920’s and the NT refers to the property as an “unstately home.”

From Wikipedia: “Set in the midst of a landscape park, the National Trust presented Calke Abbey as an illustration of the English country house in decline. A massive amount of remedial work but no restoration has been done and interiors are almost as they were found in 1985 so the decay of the building and its interiors has been halted but not reversed. Before the National Trust work of the late 1980s everything had remained untouched since the 1880s. The Trust manages the surrounding landscape park with an eye to nature conservation. It contains such features as a walled garden, with a flower garden and a former physic garden, now managed as a kitchen garden. Some years after Calke was handed over to the National Trust to settle death duties, an heir was discovered: Andrew Johnson, a distant cousin of the Harpur family. Johnson was a wealthy resident of Vermont and the owner of important stands of timber and of a lumber business, though the popular press in Britain referred to him as a `lumberjack.’ Johnson was given the use of an apartment in the Abbey, which he and his family have used on occasional visits.”

And from The History of the County of Derby, Part 2 (1829) by Stephen Glover: “In this house, although it has never yet been put up, either for use or ornament, is, perhaps, one of the most splendid state beds in the kingdom, presented, on the occasion of her marriage,-by ” Caroline,” queen of George the Second, to Lady Caroline Manners (afterwards Harpur) as one of her bridemaids. This now beautiful seat was, in the memory of persons n6w living, one of the plainest and least ornamental, it is said, almost desolate and ugly, places in the county. The present improvements were all planned and executed by the late Sir Henry Crewe, bart. who devoted a life of retirement to this purpose, affording thereby, for many years, ample employment to the workmen and labourers of the surrounding neighbourhood. The house being ill supplied with water, Sir Henry Crewe, at a great expense, brought it from an excellent spring beyond Ticknall, about a mile and a half, to a covered reservoir in the park, from whence the stables, house, gardens, and dairy, are now fully and amply supplied. The style of architecture is Ionic, highly enriched, with fluted pilasters between the windows, and an elegant balustrade round the whole building, within which is a flat roof covered with lead. The stables are excellent, and stand on an elevated site to the north of the house.”

The Potting Shed at Calke Abbey from natures-desktop.com
All of this sounds vastly intriguing and Victoria and I are loathe to admit that neither of us has yet visited Calke Abbey. Have you? If so, please share your visit with us. And in the meantime, Victoria and I have yet another stop to put on a future itinerary.

The Book of Fashionable Life – Drawing Rooms

From The Book of Fashionable Life by A Member of the Royal Household (London, n.d.)

REGULATIONS
TO BE OBSERVED AT
HER MAJESTY’S DRAWING ROOMS.
 
 
All ladies attending Her Majesty’s Drawing Rooms are requested to bring with them two cards, with their names legibly written thereon—one to be left with the Queen’s page in attendance in the Presence Chamber, and the other to be delivered to the Lord in Waiting, who will announce the name to Her Majesty. And those ladies who are to be presented are informed, that it is absolutely necessary that their names, together with the names of the ladies who are to present them, should be sent into the Lord Chamberlain’s Office two clear days before the Drawing Room, in order that they may be submitted for the Queen’s approbation, it being Her Majesty’s command that no presentation shall take place, unless the name of the lady presenting, together with that of the lady to be presented, shall appear on the card delivered as before directed, corresponding with the names sent into the Lord
Chamberlain’s Office; and it is especially requisite that the Ladies who present others, should be actually present at the Drawing Room. One card must be left with the Queen’s Page, in the Presence Chamber, and another be delivered to the Lord-in-Waiting, who will present the Lady to the Queen.
At a Birthday Drawing Room, no presentations take place; but, nevertheless, each Lady and Gentleman, who proposes to attend, should send a card to the Queen’s Lord Chamberlain a few days before the holding of the Drawing Room Afterwards, when you attend, take care that your carriage arrive at the Palace before two o’clock. You should be provided with two cards, to be delivered as before mentioned, one to the Queen’s Page in the Presence Chamber. Afterwards you enter Queen Anne’s Chamber, where you wait until the door is opened at the end of the room, looking down from the fire-place. You should enter within the rails near the fire-place, and go in procession to the Anti-Drawing Room. Ladies carry their trains on the left arm until they come near to Her Majesty, when the train is dropped, a card delivered to the Lord-in-Wailing, who will announce the Lady’s tide or name, when she makes a graceful courtesy to Her Majesty, and then retires. The Ladies who attend Drawing Rooms will be pleased to observe that there is an established regulation with regard to their dresses. Court Etiquette requires that they should not appear in hats and feathers, or turbans and feathers, but in feathers and lappets, in conformity with the established orders.
It must be particularly observed, that no persons are permitted to remain in the Throne Room, having passed Her Majesty at the Drawing Room, but the Ministers and their ladies, the great Officers of the Household and their ladies, the Foreign Ministers and their ladies, and the Officers of the Household upon duty.

The Wellington Connection: The Household Calvary

As we recently ran a post about a Household Calvary horse named Sefton, we thought it would be appropriate to look into the Duke of Wellington’s connection to the Household Calvary, a term used to describe the cavalry of the Household Division, the most elite senior military groupings or those military groupings that provide functions associated directly with the Royal Family. The British Household Cavalry is made up of two regiments of the British armed forces, the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons). These regiments are divided between the Armoured Regiment stationed at Combermere Barracks in Windsor and the Household Calvary  stationed at Knightsbridge Barracks, London. 

 

The first Regiment with whom the Duke of Wellington was connected was the Royal, or 1st, Dragoons, who served under Wellington, as Lord Wellesley, during the Peninsular War. They acted as rearguard during the retreat at the Torres Vedras lines in 1810 and their charge at Fuentes d’Onor in 1811 contributed greatly to that victory. By the end of 1814, the Royal Dragoons had advanced into southern France and were granted permission to march through France to Calais.
In 1815, their successful charge at Waterloo alongside the Union Brigade was responsible for maintaining the Allies’ weakest position until the Prussians arrived. The famous charge against the French Cuirassiers took place at the height of the battle and saved the British centre from being overrun. During this charge, the 105 Eagle, now part of the The Royals’ and The Blues dress, was captured from the French 105th Infantry Regiment of the Line by Captain Clarke and/or Corporal Stiles.
 

 

 

 

However, the Duke of Wellington is most closely connected to the Royal Horseguards, also called The Blues. He was appointed as Colonel of the Regiment on 1st January, 1813, which proved to be the first step towards raising The Blues to the distinction of belonging to the Household Calvary. Wellington was the first Colonel to take office as Gold Stick with the colonels of the 1st and 2nd Life Guards, regiments with whom The Blues fought at the battle of Vittoria.

The Blues formed the Heavy Cavalary Brigade at Waterloo, fighting alongside the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Life Guards. At the beginning of the Brigade charge, the Regiment was in support, but as the charge unfolded, they drew into the first line. After the battle, the following equine casualties were reported: 48 killed, 21 wounded and 25 missing.

 

In 1821, King George IV ordered the Regiment to be brigaded with the 1st and 2nd Life Guards and to share the duties of the King’s Life Guard.
Today, the Household Cavalry continue to guard the monarch, appearing daily at the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Fittingly, the Viewing Galleries within the Wellington Arch, in front of Apsley House, offer unique views of the Household Cavalry passing beneath the Arch on their way to and from the Changing of the Guard. The Arch opens daily at 10 a.m., with the Guards usually passing at around 10:30 a.m.

Number One London is Now on YouTube

We’ve entered the realm of YouTube with our very first, introductory video. If you’ve been with our blog for any length of time, you probably know us all by now, but you may not know that much about our Tours. In this video, you’ll see what a typical Number One London tour is like and in upcoming videos, we’ll be featuring our past tours and travels and showcasing our upcoming 2022 tours. So, please take a look using the link below and let us know what you think. And, should you approve, please do “like” our video and subscribe to our channel – it’s another way for us to stay connected!

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT . . . . 24 HOURS IN THE PAST?

24 Hours in the Past is a BBC One living history TV series first broadcast in 2015. Six quasi-celebrities were immersed in a recreation of impoverished life in Victorian Britain. Each of the four episodes represented 24 hours living and working in four different occupations – dust yard (filmed at the Black Country Living Museum), coaching inn (the New Inn at Stowe), potteries (the Gladstone Pottery Museum) and the work house (Workhouse Museum in Southwell).  You can watch the first episode at the link below – all four episodes are available on YouTube.