Saturday, 22 August 2015

Country House At War! Part 1

War is declared, the year is 1939
The Bearsted family make the decision to move out of their country retreat, Upton House, nestling in the Cotswold countryside. The family own a merchant bank, M. Samuel & Co, but decide to move the bank into their home for the duration of the war. This is in order to protect both their staff and the banks assets from the threat of air-raids over London.
Giving their London home in Carlton Gardens to the nation, Lord and Lady Bearsted do not remove themselves to the safety of Upton House, but deliberately stay in London to help aid the war effort. 
Marking the 70th anniversary of the ending of WW11, the National Trust have recreated the atmosphere in the house that existed when the bank staff lived and worked in it. The Long Gallery has become a Typing Pool filled with office desks, and the bedrooms have been made over to show how the male and female bank staff were accommodated at that time
Before stepping inside the house let's follow the posters suggestion and explore their gardens 
which were visited at the end of May when everywhere was still looking lush and verdant 
The bank staff were well fed with vegetables, fruit and herbs from the garden along with berries and mushrooms foraged in the local woods
The walled garden sits on a sunny south facing slope
Part 2 - will be inside Upton House

50 comments:

  1. You have a lot of beautiful gardens like this. These photos are really magnificent. I love these flowers, full of colors.
    Hugs

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    1. We visited at the end of May Orvokki so sadly most of these flowers are now making seed heads and pods ready for next spring.

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  2. What an interesting place and I love the posters Rosemary. Look forward to seeing inside.

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    1. It was lovely to see all of these old posters, a reminder of just how much graphics and illustrations have changed from those seen today

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  3. Such an interesting post Rosemary! I love your photos of the garden. Are those magnificent tall trees Yew trees? I remember seeing them on my last trip to the UK - they are so majestic!

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    1. Those trees were magnificent Wendy like great tall giants marching along the edge of the lawn. They are actually over 250 years old and are Cedar of Lebanon trees.

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  4. That must have been quite some change for the Bank office employees to work in this beautiful environment.

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    1. I suspect that they must have loved living in such a beautiful spot, and would have appreciated being out of London.

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  5. Beautiful garden Rosemary. I do adore Aquilegias, the blue is very pretty. The lupins look lovely and I haven't seen one growing for a very long time. There are some wild ones in this area but maybe we won't see them this trip.

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    1. The Lupins at Upton were beautiful in the herbaceous borders, however, they are all finished for this year as this was back at the end of May

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  6. What a noble thing to do! It's too easy to forget the awful times of war and what it must have been like back then.

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    1. They were extremely wealthy people but were obviously very generous - there hearts were in the right place.

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  7. Hello Rosemary, The Upton Gardens are the perfect blend of greenery and old stonework. I like the way the natural wet areas blend into the actual gardens.
    --Jim

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    1. The gardens are very beautiful - when you cross the large level lawns the sudden steep drop down to the large water area is a complete surprise to come across.

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  8. What a fascinating look at history, and at beautiful gardens from the freshest time of year. Thanks for letting us tag along on your trip as armchair travelers! -Beth

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    1. It is surprising just how quick these beautiful moments from the summer pass by - I can hardly believe that it is almost 3 months ago now.

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  9. Only the Brits! I have never heard a story like this but how wonderfully charitible of the Upton family to think so highly of their employees as they obviously did. Lovely to look at but how much fun it would be to take a 10 minute break from work to walk outside smelling and viewing all those gorgeous flowers and trees.

    Mary in Oregon

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    1. It must have seemed like paradise compared with the air raids and bombings in London - of course they also eventually handed this house and all of its contents over to the National Trust so that everyone could enjoy it and appreciate the wonderful collection of paintings etc.

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  10. Such stunning gardens, and the history is fascinating.

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    1. Thank you - pleased you found it interesting

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  11. I always learn something when I come here!
    Those very tall trees are beautiful....Have never seen these before.
    Next to last flowers look like our state flower...(Colorado)... The Columbine?

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    1. The trees are 250 year old Cedar of Lebanon - yes, you are correct Janey about the Columbine - Aquilegia

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  12. Imagine going to work in a bank with surroundings so beautiful! The massed lupin, iris, columbine, even wallflowers, are spectacular, and wet areas with the ferns and Queen Anne's Lace (cow parsley?) complete a perfectly blended English garden.
    Love the walls and balustrades too.
    Great war posters, real art done on a drawing board, no computers of course!
    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Those posters do touch the nostalgic nerve and you are right it is a beautiful English country garden - thanks Mary

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  13. The lake and the lupins get my photo award today.

    Ms Soup

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    1. They certainly captivated the eye in reality too

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  14. We visited Upton House a few years ago in September, the garden especially the Asters were very impressive.

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    1. If it is a first time visit then the garden does suddenly reveal its unexpected side leading down to the sloping gardens and water.

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  15. The historic posters are wonderful and do remember to war time when all these wonderful estate gardens were transformed to vegetable plots. And now we are so glad to see all those great English flowergardens again. Wonderful photos of Upton House gardens.

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    1. Upton House gardens are a joy to behold, if you have not visited Janneke then I am sure that you would love it.

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  16. Looks like a beautiful and colourful garden.

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    1. The garden is a gem to visit Suzie, and the house itself sits in a lovely part of the Cotswolds.

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  17. I had never heard this story, Rosemary and look forward to the next fascinating chapter. How very enterprising of the National Trust to choose this way of marking the anniversary.

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    1. Until we visited Perpetua we had not realise that the house had been made over in this way by the NT. It certainly revealed to us what an extremely generous and big hearted couple Lord and Lady Bearsted actually were.

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  18. What a great story bringing the house back to life as it was then. Wonderful gardens too - so nice to see pictures of the gardens in May when everything here is now going over - such colour and abundance.

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    1. It less than 3 months since our visit and yet the countryside and gardens are now looking so different - each season has such a definitive colour.

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  19. There were so many heroes duing the war. So many of them never got the recognition for what they did and the difference they made.Your post is such a beautiful celebration to those people Rosemary. And your pictues.. as always magnificent. What a beautiful garden I can't wait to see the inside of the house. :)

    Take care my dear. ♥

    Charlie
    xx

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    1. Dear Charlie - It seems that this family were both generous with their time, and money - they also had big hearts too.
      The gardens are a joy to walk around with wonderful vistas at every turn.
      Thank you for your kind visit Charlie♥

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  20. We visited here some years ago and found the gardens very beautiful! xx

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    1. They really are a delight to wander around - there is so much to see and admire

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  21. Your photos are all so fascinating as always, Rosemary. My favorite place is 13th image; I’d like to walk through the lacy white and yellow wildflowers under the canopy of green. I like shades when sun is scorching.

    Yoko

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    1. That looked a very inviting pathway Yoko which sadly we did not have time to explore.

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  22. Dear Rosemary, It has been a long time since I have seen Wallflowers used in garden beds. The last time I saw them used in a garden was as an underplanting for spring bulbs. It was a sensational sight.

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    1. I had forgotten how many striking colours you can get in wallflowers - looking at the photos I notice that these too must have been used as underplanting for the tulips which have by the time of our visit gone over.

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  23. Oops, I missed this great post when I was away a few days. What an interesting story, moving the bank into this house. Even 70 years after the war, we learn more about that time as the years go by. What a spectacular garden they had to enjoy. I love the drifts of yellow/orange blooms, and the beautiful stairs going down to the walled garden. I look forward to Upton House, Part 2.

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    1. The yellow/orange blooms are wallflowers, and they have a heavenly scent. The beautiful stairway down is a complete surprise as it is hidden when crossing over the lawn, it then invites you down into the lower garden.

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  24. What a place. Will try and visit one day. My grandparents in Trentham, Stoke on Trent, had two bank clarks billeted to their house in WW2 as other banks were moved to the buildings in Trentham Gardens and staff were sent to live with any locals who had spare beds.

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    1. Many Stately homes were also turned into military hospitals for the duration of the war

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