Saturday, July 06, 2013

Sudbury Hall and the Museum of Childhood

This Saturday adventure to a National Trust home had been planned for a long time.  Accompanied by our friends Steve and Teresa and their daughters Lizzie and Alice, it turned out to be a lovely, fun-filled afternoon.  Sunshine shone strongly all day, and it was hot enough to be thankful for the cooler indoors of the hall at Sudbury, in Derbyshire.  

After a picnic and plenty of time running about on the lawn, Coo waited patiently for the doors of the hall to open so we could have a look around.

Meanwhile the lads and dad, who were joined by a small Davy Crockett, explored the stonework  of the house.

Once inside, we first noticed the enormous entrance hall.  I love the fireplace but have to confess I'm not keen on the peachy pink wall colour!

This was the family's smaller downstairs dining room, put to use after they shut up the grander rooms of the house when in reduced circumstances in the early twentieth century.  Davy Crockett is displaying his "famous toothy grin"!

Behold the enviably lovely kitchen...

Sudbury Hall was used in filming the interiors of Pemberley in the BBC's 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series. Fans might recognise the impressive Long Gallery, its walls lined with portraits of family members and connections from long ago, like an oversized family photo album.

I loved this Victorian-era library, hidden away between some of the more impressive rooms. It's difficult to see in the photo, but there in the corner is a winding iron staircase leading up to a narrow balcony that wraps around three walls of the room, creating a little second floor of bookcases. 

Above and below is the Queen's Room. This vibrantly toned room was used as the infamous "Red Room" where a young Jane Eyre is imprisoned by her abusive aunt, in the Masterpiece Theatre's 2006 version of Jane Eyre.

We have visited so many country houses in England that I'm beginning to recognise the names of these prolific families, and remember their connections.  Sudbury Hall was the home of the Vernon family, who were incredibly wealthy.  They also owned nearby Haddon Hall, which is on our list of places to see in the near future.

Next, we visited the National Trust Museum of Childhood, which is housed in the nineteenth-century servants' wing.  The children had a great time, and so did we!  I enjoyed recognising toys from my own childhood, and perusing the huge collections of playthings from the past. [A slightly disturbing facet of the above photo is that I'm starting to look like one of the kids!]

The museum contains seven permanent galleries, with the themes of Outdoor Adventure, Work, Home, School, Babies, Stories and Imagination, and Toys.  There was something to do in every room, which the kids loved.

We were all very tired at the end of the day, but visiting Sudbury --and the museum-- was definitely worth it, as was the time spent with good friends!

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