Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Horsley Towers

Having arrived at the hotel in the dark, and following a hearty English breakfast next morning, we set off on foot to explore the surroundings. It looked as if it would be a beautiful late November day once the mist had lifted her veil
For H's birthday we stayed in the grounds of a large Gothic mansion designed by Sir Charles Barry in the early 1820s. Barry eventually went on to design the Palace of Westminster 20 years later. 
The house was built for William Currie, a distiller and banker to replace an earlier building. Currie wanted the house loosely designed in the style of a Bavarian castle complete with turrets and towers. After Currie's death in 1829 the property was then acquired by the lst Earl of Lovelace who was married to Ada, the daughter of Lord Byron, the romantic poet.
Ada was a distinguished mathematician who worked with Charles Babbage on an early mechanical general purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Due to this, she is often described as the world's first computer programmer.
Is this a Folly, a Dovecote or an Ice House?
After having had several distinguished owners the house became a girls' school in the 1920s owned and run by a Miss Isaacson and Miss Maule (a rather forbidding name for a teacher). It stood empty for three years and was then turned into a conference and management centre. The rooms and restaurant are now in what was the conference centre within the walled gardens. The Gothic mansion is used for weddings and special receptions
Amazon local deals are one of the best things that I have discovered during 2014. They have taken us to many different and interesting locations. Here we enjoyed a delicious three course evening meal, a bottle of wine included, and a great breakfast in the morning. Through the 'deal' we enjoyed a 60% reduction off the normal price. I don't know whether other countries do these deals but they are well worth investigating. This is a personal opinion, I am not endorsing any products.
Travelling on over the 'Hog's Back' to our next port of call we caught glimpses of the Surrey landscape - H's land of his forefathers

62 comments:

  1. You got a good deal there Rosemary, it looks like a wonderful place to stay!

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    1. It was great value Jessica - in reality it only cost us the price of the evening meal.

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  2. What a surprise this post was for me this morning! Horsley Towers is home territory for me, a Surrey girl born and bred and I grew up just along the road in Great Bookham. My father in law lives in Effingham.

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    1. Linda - you are a Surrey girl and H is a Surrey boy.

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  3. What a wonderful place. Your photos are so lovely, I do particularly like the 1st and the last.
    That is a good way to find a cheaper holiday through Amazon up your way..

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    1. They send me different deals everyday, and if we fancy them or it is somewhere that we fancy visiting then we book it there and then.

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  4. Dear Rosemary,
    I'll be watching to see if any of your readers know about Amazon deals in other countries. I'm not aware of them but what an excellent plan.

    Your fourth picture: I don't think it's a Folly, windows are too small, don't think it's a Dovecote, windows are too large, then it must be an Icehouse?

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    1. Dear Gina - each day Amazon send me different deals - having perused the menu at this hotel we realised that we had only paid for our evening meal with a bottle of wine and nothing else - in effect the bed and breakfast was free.
      We have been to visit wonderful gardens where we have paid for one and the other is free, and the same applied to a special summer evening visit to Bristol Zoo.

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  5. It's always a pleasure to look at your marvelous pictures and learn very interesting things.Good to know that Amazon makes special prizes, I have no idea of what happens here. You were lucky enough to take advantage of those deals in such a wonderful area.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment Olympia - I feel sure that Amazon must do deals in other countries too, if not perhaps they will in time. Obviously they rely on receiving instructions from hoteliers etc who may have rooms that they want filled. It must better for them to have visitors rather than empty rooms. I just put Amazon local deal and the area of the country we would like to visit into Google, and they arrive by email.

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  6. What a gorgeous place! I didn't know that Lord Byron's daughter Ada was so accomplished. Great to learn of her, thanks!

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    1. From her portrait it appears that she was also strikingly beautiful

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  7. What a lovely place. I shall sign up for Amazon deals ... we have had several bargain breaks through Travelzoo.

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    1. I used to use Travelzoo too but have found Amazon easier especially if you already have an account.

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  8. Hello Rosemary, What an unusual house. The rubble walls remind me of some houses in the U.S. that are made out of bottles or similar odds and ends. It looks a little over-restored; I hope that before long it will reacquire a measure of patina.

    Miss Maule was probably a sweet lady, but in this Gothic context one wonders if she was descended from Matthew Maule, who uttered the original curse on the House of the Seven Gables, and so put into motion the plot of Hawthorne's great novel.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - the walls are made from knapped flint which is a very attractive material especially when it is combined with brickwork as it is on this building. It is has been used for thousands of years in this country and is incredibly hard and durable. Stone-age man discovered that splitting flints gave him a very sharp tool which he could use for cutting flesh and make into spear heads for hunting.

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  9. What a beautiful place. Yes we have Amazon local here too.
    I wonder if Ada was the inspiration for Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia.

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    1. Full marks Mac n' Janet - Tom Stoppard did base Thomasina the precocious teenage genius in Arcadia on Byron's daughter, Ada.
      It is interesting to know that you have Amazon local in the US as I think that others will be interested in that fact.

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  10. Dear Rosemary,

    What a beautiful place to stay at. It looks really impressive. I always enjoy staying at hotels and B&B where there is so much history. When you look at this building, you can almost imagine the girls wandering around :-)

    Have a lovely evening!

    Madelief

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    1. Dear Madelief - having arrived in the dark we couldn't wait to have a look around in the morning and were delighted with what we saw.

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  11. Surrey look´s really lovely! Such a lovely place to stay at with a interesting history…
    Your posts are always great Rosemary!
    Have a cozy evening, take care…
    Warmly,
    Titti

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    1. Thank you dear Titti - if was a real revelation to us when we explored our interesting surrounds in the morning having arrived in the dark.

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  12. What a wonderful place to stay it looks stunning! I will be checking out the amazon deals as I have enjoyed all the wonderful places you have visited this year! sarah x

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    1. Dear Sarah - every deal we have done has been great value. We just pick the places that we have an interest in visiting especially if there is a NT house nearby. Just one night away can make a real difference to your routine and feels much longer. Next one coming up in mid January.

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  13. Love the first and the last pictures best. Beautiful!

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    1. Thank you for your generous comment Em

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  14. What an impressive and unusual house, Rosemary. I love the flintwork, with the contrasting stone and brick trim - very Victorian Gothic. Must explore Amazon local deals....

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    1. I am so pleased that I discovered them Perpetua - a regular little treat which doesn't cost a fortune.

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  15. It looks as though you found another fascinating place to visit! You do very well at seeking these interesting places out! xx

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    1. This one found me Amy - every day Amazon send me the latest deals. If they are of no interest then I just delete them.

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  16. Horsley Towers appears to be a fascinating place, Rosemary. I love all the Gothic details, and the little Folly - it looks like the setting for a novel. Thank you for the insight into Lord Byron's daughter Ada, not only a very Clever Clogs, but beautiful as well. Perhaps only to be expected as Byron's daughter. Happy Birthday to H, and a lovely way to celebrate.

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    1. Thanks Patricia I will pass your greetings on.
      Ada is currently one of the subjects in a new book called A Passion for Science. It was my first introduction to her at the hotel, but isn' it interesting how once you discover one thing it leads on to others.

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  17. Thank you for reminding me about Ada Lovelace - I've just put her on my Pinterest page for great "Women"!

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  18. What a wonderful place to spend your birthday , congratulations to H .

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    1. It was a real eye opener when we wandered around in the light of the day.

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  19. Another Surrey girl. Here in New Zealand we have what are called "Grab One deals" and I get an email each day with a list of local deals - anything from accommodation to wine to clothing etc. Is it something similar you are referring to.

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    1. I thought that they must do similar things in other countries. You can certainly discover some bargains.

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    2. I must remember that when (if) I make a return visit. I just had a look and see it is also called "Grab One" or perhaps there are others. I know I have had some great deals here.

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    3. I should have read more carefully - just noticed you mentioned Amazon deals!!!!

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    4. All you do is put Amazon local deals into Google should you come over for a trip.

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  20. I think it is an ice house, built for the nineteen twenties conference centre. The coloured brick trim around the windows is wonderful.

    Ms Soup

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    1. The coloured brickwork is such a simple idea to replicate I would have thought - I wonder why they don't do it today?

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  21. Dear Rosemary, I think I have to move completely to England, to discover all those beautiful places you show us, thank you! I would in a jiffy - but husband's work is not that easily transplantable as mine. .. So I dream - and take notes.
    As to Amazon deals: I am not sure wether they offer it in Germany - but I am also a customer of British Amazon, so I will look there and maybe I can get those deals too (I often order DVDs through them).

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    1. Dear Britta - Amazon and your computer know that you are in Germany of course, but give it a try by putting Amazon Local Deals UK into Google and see what happens - good luck. We are off on another one in January.

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    2. Thank you so much, Rosemary! Had I but known... - they seem to accept me because I have an UK-account, too. Wow - if it works I will cross the channel even more - what a wonderful outlook for 2015!
      I wish you a happy trip in January.

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    3. That is brilliant Britta - hope some bargains that interest you come your way♡

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  22. Wow!!!! What a beautifu wonderful excursion! The first picture of the horses is magical!!!

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    1. We walked up the drive and there were these elegant horses happily grazing in the early morning mist.

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  23. I'm not much of an authority on Bavarian architecture, but that clock tower certainly looks German. I'm guessing that this would have been huge fun for any architect, and I'm sure that Sir Barry persuaded William Currie that a trip to Bavaria (maybe in the summer) was necessary for reference.

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    1. P.S. Happy belated birthday, H!

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    2. Dear Mark - When he became of age he travelled to many countries having inherited a substantial amount of money upon the death of his father. He undertook an extensive Grand Tour all around the Mediterranean and on to the Middle East.
      Apart from designing the Palace of Westminster he also designed Highclere Castle where the series Downton Abbey is set. I know that you do not have a TV but will no doubt have heard of the programme.
      Thanks for your belated birthday wishes, I have past them on.

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    3. While I do not have a TV, I occasionally join friends for after-dinner viewing, so I have gotten my share of Downton Abbey and the Selfridge series, both of which I enjoy. I also look in on things via YouTube, but I know that if I owned a TV, I wouldn't have the self-control not to watch a history channel 24/7!!

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    4. Good - you know what it looks like then

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  24. What a beautiful place to be Rosemary. Great post.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. Thank you Marijke - lovely to hear from you and hope you are well.

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  25. Well ! I will investigate Amazon deals right away. What a wonderful birthday get away. I could use one....but I guess Sept. Is a long way away. Great post.

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    1. Don't wait for a birthday Janey - anytime that is spare will do.

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  26. What a lovely buildning and really lovely lanscap.
    Nice photos, I like a lot.
    Have a happy weekend.

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    1. Thank you I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the post.

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  27. Wonderful building and history :) I am now going on the computer to check out if Amazon local deals offers anything near me...I had no idea about this! Thank you.

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