My last post described the changing appearance of some of Attingham’s main rooms over time. I finished the post by including one example of how the external appearance of the property has also changed, and I thought that it might be useful to continue this theme and show you some further examples of how the areas immediately around the mansion have altered through the years.
The photographs of the garden and parkland are extremely useful for our wardens and gardeners, providing them with knowledge and insight into the historic layout and activities at Attingham in the same way that the room photographs do for our curators and engagement staff.
This first photo highlights how the approach up the main drive to the mansion has changed. Taken approximately in the 1950-60s it shows a fence on the right hand side of the drive and a large tree to the right of the entrance gate (though both are no longer there).
Today our gardeners use a variety of mechanised mowers and strimmers to keep the length of the grass to an acceptable level. In previous years, horse-drawn threshing machines were used for the same activity, as shown in the photo below. This was taken in 1930 by Gioconda Hulton, the elder sister of the 8th Lady Berwick, and shows the grass being cut in front of the west side of the house adjacent to the Tea Room.
Those of you who have ventured into the wider estate grounds will know that there is a fine bridge providing access across the River Tern and into the Deer Park. The bridge was originally built in 1857, but by the late 1950s it had fallen into a rather dilapidated state as shown in the photo below where the young lad is paying great attention to where he puts his feet so as to avoid an unscheduled bath!
The bridge was eventually rebuilt in 1961 and continues to be used by many of our visitors to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Deer Park. Both the original construction date of 1857 and the rebuilding date of 1961 are commemorated on the bridge. Why not see if you can spot these features next time you are crossing it?
The areas which have perhaps seen the greatest change through the years, are the lawns on the East Portico immediately in front of the Sultana Room, Boudoir and Orangery. This was historically laid out as a formal garden, including flower beds and hedges, and below are two photos ranging in date from the 1930s to 1960’s that show significant differences from how the area appears today.
On leaving Attingham most people travelling by car head back towards Shrewsbury via the road junction opposite the Mytton and Mermaid pub, which on occasions can be particularly busy. My final picture shows this junction in the 1950s. Whilst it will be instantly recognisable to those of you familiar with the local area, both the road surface and the lack of vehicles in the picture, suggest that Atcham was an altogether quieter place at that time than it is today.