...you can either stay home and curl up with a book in front of the fire place, or you can go shopping, visit a museum or a big house where you can spend hours indoors.
We did the latter, but still came home wet through and shivering with cold - after all, we still had to adjust to the change in climate from the heat wave in Germany to what passes for summer in Yorkshire.
Ripon has good bus services; they are not cheap, but take you places too far away to walk to. We do not have a car when we're in England, so we depend on public transport.
On Tuesday, August 18, we woke up to grey skies and rain that wouldn't stop all day except for a minute here and there. We decided to take the 36 bus to Harewood and visit Harewood House.
You can find a lot of information on the official website; here are just a few bits: Building began in 1759. The owner, Edwin Lascelles, had enough money to ensure the best people of that time would be working for him: Thomas Chippendale made the furniture, Capability Brown did the landscaping, and Robert Adams designed the interiors. The architect of the building itself was a man from York, John Carr.
I did not take many pictures from the outside, because I did not want my camera to get wet. Inside, I could not take many pictures in the state rooms because there were either too many people about or it was too dark. Still, here are a few.
Although the state rooms were very beautiful, we were most impressed with the world below stairs: The huge kitchen with its rows and rows of polished copper pots and pans, a (what was then) high tech kitchen range, the scullery, the larder, the dairy room and the still room; the (yet again high tech) system of bells for each room so that the small army of servants always knew where they were wanted, and the information given about what life was like back then when the house was still inhabited by a family. It was a largely self-contained world on its own, constantly busy with providing meals, fresh clothing and bedding as well as clean rooms not only for the family, but also for the numerous people employed here.
Garden, house and kitchen staff were housed in different parts of the building and grounds. They were not supposed to mix, something I found a bit strange; wouldn't it be productive to have all the employees feel like one team, working towards the same goal?
Two girls who came from the same nearby village and had been best friends already were, as an exception, allowed to share a room, in spite of one of them working in the kitchen and the other one in the house.
Gardeners pretty much did their own thing; they took turns in cooking for each other and were not under as close observation and strict rules as the staff living in the house.
Speaking of the garden - the grounds of Harewood House are very beautiful, and we would have loved to explore them more thoroughly. But because of the incessant rain and rather chilly wind, we limited ourselves to a short walk about half way around the lake.
The Himalayan garden was the most wonderful part: There was nobody about, and it was a place that felt like a secret garden you've stumbled upon quite by magic.
Waiting for the bus back to Ripon, I took this picture of the other side of the road. Not that many phone booths are left in England, are they. This one added some colour to a mostly grey day.
At the cottage, we felt so cold we huddled around our (electric) fire with mugs of steaming hot tea and blankets.
This was, however, the only day that was like this; the rest of our stay was much more like summer.
What a great way to spend a rainy day! These houses and their histories are always impressive. It's a shame you couldn't enjoy the gardens more because of the weather but I'm sure you'll be able to visit again on a sunnier day sometime.ReplyDelete
You are quite right about our telephone boxes, we have a few left on our town's promenade, they are currently being taken away for repair and repaint but will soon be back, they are quite iconic now along with our letterboxes which are still prolific throughout the town. :)
We will probably be back to Harewood at some other time, the gardens deserve to be looked at properly.Delete
It's the same here with phone booths, although ours have never been as nice as yours. People just don't need them anymore, now that nearly everyone has a mobile phone. But there are still some around in my home town.
Welcome to the UK! It's a good job that there are so many things to do on wet days. I didn't know that kitchen and house staff were separated. Harewood House is, of course, huge but I'm sure they couldn't have been quite so separated in smaller places.ReplyDelete
You are probably right, Graham. It seemed illogical to me when I read the explanation about staff being separated like that. I knew, of course, that men and women were often housed in different parts of the building, and doors were firmly locked at night. Still, things happened if the people involved wanted them to happen.Delete
You and your sister found something interesting and fun to do on a drizzly day. I enjoy seeing stately or historical homes and do usually find the below stairs rooms the most interesting. But I like above stairs too. I've never seen nor heard of a Himalayan garden. It looks pretty, even in the rain.ReplyDelete
The azalea and rhododendron were the size of trees there, Kristi, and it was all so very, very green and lush and beautiful!Delete
Often, below stairs is not shown when one visits a stately home, but like you, I find it so interesting to look "behind the scenes", so to speak.
The English summer, eh? Harewood house looks like a wonderful place to go on a rainy day. I haven't been there myself so your photos and descriptions were good to read.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Jenny!Delete
We can't really complain - most of the time, the weather was just ideal for the long walks we so like to do. Also, I slept very well, something that wasn't always the case when we still had nearly 30 Celsius at night after a long hot day, and with all windows wide open, I could hear every little noise from my neighbours and from the road.
Shirley and I came across George Henry Hubert Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood in the kitchen garden one Sunday morning five years ago but we only realised who it was later on. He died a year later - probably shocked through seeing me. Did you know that the money that built Harewood was largely derived from slavery in the West Indies?ReplyDelete
I didn't know how the Lascelles got their money, but it does not surprise me to hear it was slavery. Sadly, much of the wealth accumulated by a few families was (and still is) not based on honest work or a great idea.Delete
It's such a shame that it rained when you visited Harewood, as it's so beautiful and the grounds are amazing. But it sounds like you still made the best of it. I agree, the kitchens are by far the best part of the whole house. And my kids used to love the penguins and the adventure playground. xReplyDelete
We didn't even go to that part of the grounds where the penguin pools are - we saw it on the map but decided against it, given the weather...Delete
But I am sure we'll be back on a sunnier day next year!
I think we must have been really lucky when we were in England last year. It never rained at all! Our son is in England just now and he is not so lucky! Oh well, that is life on an island for you!ReplyDelete
Like you, I wish I could visit the gardens, big houses like that are nice, but nature is the best viewing option for me!
We were really lucky most of the time, too; we even were able to have some of our meals in the garden.Delete
Speaking of gardens, I liked the walled gardens with herbs and fruit and vegetables best. The ones at Ripley castle are great, as you will see in one of my next posts, and so were the ones at Castle Howard, which we visited on our last day in Yorkshire.
I'd love to have been there, rain and all. The garden is so lovely, and that kitchen!ReplyDelete
Yes, it was a good day with lots to see, regardless of the weather. But we certainly would have stayed in the gardens longer, had it been less wet!Delete
I often find the servants' quarters, kitchen etc the most interesting as well!ReplyDelete
Somehow these parts just seem more "real life" than the state rooms, don't they.Delete