DCS Social Trip to Attingham Park Shrewsbury Wednesday 27th September 2023
The welcome committee in waiting for Didsbury Civic Society
Our trip to Attingham Park started with the Coach and Passengers both being in place on time and ready to go at 8:30am, with the second pick up at 8:45am. The weather looking good for our ever-popular social event, with the final head count of 35 travellers and off we went.
Surprisingly, even with the speed limit restrictions on the M6 motorway, our driver Howard delivered us to our first stop to water the horses and coffee at a new Designer Outlet of McArthur Glen West Midlands. Part of the Cheshire Oaks group and newly opened it was very smart Italianate in design and decorated in a piazza style, with all of the top names present. Money spent and lunch time approaching, all aboard for the Spread Eagle near Penkridge on the A5. Being the first customers of the day, it was quiet as we were on time for the first cuts of the day in the carvery and all preferences catered for by great staff.
Back on the coach for Attingham Park. Unfortunately, the weather was taking a turn for the worse with grey clouds appearing, rain predicted and winds. Even a yellow warning! Gordon was now in close contact with NT at Attingham for their visitor update.
The house built in 1785 is a Neo-Classical Georgian Mansion of very generous proportions. It is typical of the period in that many buildings of this era were updated by encapsulation (rendered) to modernise it into a modern and luxurious house of the period. Changes made to show the wealth of the owners. The records in the basement and kitchen areas show that the staff were well paid for their services. The house with its long carriage and gardens were designed by Landscape Architect Humphry Repton and a picture gallery by John Nash. On a good day there are nice walks in the deer park, the walled garden and across open fields for walks of one to four miles. Unfortunately, not on this day! We were obliged to leave by 4pm due to health and safety provisions concerning the weather.
The estate being some 4000 acres was given to the National Trust in 1947 by Thomas 8th Lord Berwick. There are additional costed tours of the private two storey apartment on the east side of the Mansion. There is also a wallpaper conservation tour on the upper floor. The conservation work is taking place to protect both the colourful, and panoramic wallpaper.
Entrance artwork cartoon trompe-l’oeil style
The Grand Tour begins
“Marble” at the table
Conservation and cleaning of the Wallpaper project
Which is real and which is pretend in the Courtyard?
The best crockery cupboard
The civic had been advised that due to the deterioration of the weather and for Health and Safety reasons the park would have to close at 4pm. So, some had a cup of tea and others started the house visit and visa-versa. We did manage to see the highlights of the house which were very informative and enlightening. However, our safety and that of the staff was a prime consideration. Though the skies were grey and the wind rising we did have a good, quick and safe journey home thank you Howard. Also, a big thank you to Gordon and Margaret for their research and planning involved in this visit.
The DCS also thanks MCC for helping to make this community and social visit the success that it was.