This week has given me the opportunity to do something I always love, digging around in the archives. I’m working on some interpretation for our new Cafe which is located in what was once the corn store and mixing room that fed the horses stabled in Polesden’s stable courtyard. In the course of this work I went hunting in the two precious ledgers we have from the estates at Polesden Lacey. They cover the period from the end of 1915 to 1918 and are a fascinating snapshot of the estate’s history.
The pages that deal with the ‘Bills of foodstuff. repairs. shoeing etc. to horses and traps’ immerse you in a world of hay, horseshoes, blacksmiths and vets bills that would be familiar to anyone who works with horses today. My favourite entries were those that dealt with the purchase of a new pony (£40) and the showing of horses at the Surbiton show. The pony at Polesden was used for all sorts of tasks, the main one was to mow the golf course, for which she had special coverings for her feet to avoid damaging the perfect grass. During the First World War when Polesden was a convalescence hospital she was used for another purpose and this photograph, also from our archives, shows the pony assisting wounded servicemen.