Goodwood House, telling us that modern holidays are country house weekends. See below...
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A Personal Note (Archive)
October 15, 2016
Did you know that the experience of staying at a hotel today is actually the re-imagining of an Edwardian country house weekend? I had my own modern country house weekend at Goodwood recently. Here's how history conspired to give me my great few days:
If you were wealthy and well connected in the early twentieth century you might have received an invite to join Edward VII and his family at Sandringham. Here a guest would enjoy luxurious accommodation, and begin their day with a strange meal, which we know now as the typical hotel breakfast...
"At Sandringham guests were expected to come down for breakfast between nine and ten o'clock. This was served at small tables, an innovative departure from the 'long board'... Breakfast was a substantial meal; on the sideboard spirit lamps kept hot huge silver dishes of porridge, eggs, bacon, deviled kidneys, finian haddock, kedgeree. Another sideboard held a variety of cold meats, pressed beef, ham, tongue and game. China and Indian tea, coffee and chocolate, bread rolls, toast, scones and muffins, jams and preserves and fresh fruit were all laid ready." (Bentley-Cranch Edward VII Image of an Era P 78).
After your breakfast, a program of various outdoor activities would start, usually hunting, riding and shooting in summer, and ice skating in winter.
With the aristocracy taking its lead from the king, other powerful families organised their own special weekends. Then in a trickle-down effect, the fledgling hotel industry adopted and developed the format for a wider audience. There have been some welcome changes to meet modern tastes. Golf, for example, is a gentle evolution of hunting and shooting, with golfers walking through an idealised hunting park, taking their "shots", hoping to bag a birdie, or even an eagle. Today the loader offering a loaded gun to his master on a shoot at Sandringham has been replaced by a caddie offering golf clubs.
I had a great few days enjoying an experience once confined to the few.
(This is a cut down version of an article that first appeared on my blog at Writing And So On.)
Historical news for October
Following a move from its former home near Tower Bridge, the Design Museum is now in the last stages of its redevelopment at new premises in Kensington High Street. The Museum shop is open, with the rest of the museum opening next month.
This year is the 300th anniversary of the birth of landscape gardener Capability Brown. The National Trust is celebrating this with events at many of its properties across the country. For more information go to http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/events-to-celebrate-the-300th-anniversary-of-capability-brown
Anniversaries for October
4th October 1976: British Rail begins its new 125mph High Speed Train Service. An adult single ticket from London to Bristol cost £5.
3rd October 1952: Tea rationing finally ends in Britain.
14th October 1987: A massive storm hits southern England, causing £1 billion worth of damage, killing 18 people and injuring hundreds. The Met Office is criticised for not giving adequate warning.
22nd October 1884: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich is adopted as the universal time meridian of the world.
24th October 1857: Sheffield FC is founded, the oldest football club still in existence.
30th October 1794: Diarist Elizabeth Simcoe, wife of the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, writes of taking delivery of a canoe... "We have received from Montreal a birch bark canoe such as is used by the North-West Company to transport their goods to the Grand Portage. It requires 12 men to paddle is large enough to contain four or five passengers to sit very commodiously in the centre under an awning. An Indian woman came to-day with pitch, which is made by the Indians from fir trees, to gum the canoe if any part of it is worn off by bringing it hither. She held a piece of pitch in her hand, and melted it by applying a piece of burning wood. Her figure was perfectly wild & witch like & a little fire with a kettle on it by her side, in a stormy dark day, the waves roaring on the beach near which she stood formed a scene very wildly picturesque."
30th October 1938: A radio dramatisation of H.G. Well's War of the Worlds causes a short lived panic in the United States, when listeners believe a Martian invasion is underway.
A preview of my novel - about a girl who discovers that surprisingly she can't find her way to the sort of secret world found in story books. So she searches for an alternative.
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Thank you to photo contributors Danielle Davis, Jean Edwards, Vicky Eagle of Portsmouth Dockyard, Kevin Edwards, Derick Fusco, Julian Jones, Richard Jones, Jackie Lewis, Debbie Lowless, Judy Mills of the Corinium Museum, Jane Barron of the World Rugby Museum, and Susan Stuart of Old Spitalfields Market.