Its that time of year again when the house gets transformed for Christmas. Alongside all of our winter cleaning and packing we have been busy getting ready for Christmas. The Christmas decorations have been retrieved from the store, presents have been wrapped, costumes have been made and the trees have been delivered!
The use of Evergreen trees and foliage at Christmas times dates back to an ancient tradition, one that we continue to use today. The Edwardian’s would have decorated around the house with holly, ivy and of course the traditional pine Christmas Tree. Christmas trees were decorated with home made decorations such as cornucopias containing sweets, gilded walnuts, paper chains, bows and ribbons and small gifts. The upper echelons of society were able to indulge in the newly available commercially produced Christmas decorations, in the early 20th century glass ornaments and baubles started to be produced for Christmas trees.
This week the house team have been busy putting up the evergreens around the house, and bringing a touch of festivity to Polesden Lacey, ready for our first Edwardian Advent weekend on the 29 and 30 November. The Central Hall pillars have been decorated with Ivy and the picture frames in the corridors have been given sprigs of ivy. Much of the furniture has been moved around to present Polesden Lacey as it would have been when Mrs Greville was entertaining her guests for Christmas.
This year at Polesden Lacey the Christmas traditions of Mrs Greville and her staff have been bought to life around the house and estate. twenty-four festive scenes and festive activities have been created around the property. In the house you will hear the stories of the servants preparing for Christmas, the butler laying the dining room table for a Christmas party, the housekeeper preparing the bed sheets for house guests in the linen room and see the servants presents under the tree in the Central Hall. Mrs Greville even threw a Servants ball each Christmas – giving them the chance to let their hair down and relax for a night, particularly after a busy festive season . Mrs Greville entertained a steady stream of guests over the Christmas and new year period. Many of theses guests brought with them gifts for Mrs Greville, which are still part of the collection today. This Christmas the house team have put together a display of the books given to Mrs Greville as Christmas presents by her guests and family. The inscriptions in the books give us a small insight into the relationships she had with her guests.
One of the most beautiful examples is a set of books about Queen Mary’s doll’s house. The book describes the features of the dolls house built for Queen Mary by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens as well as a second volume purely about the miniature library which features in the doll’s house. The book has been inscribed “For Mrs Greville from Mary R, Christmas 1937”. This is one of many gifts from Queen Mary which will be on display this Christmas.
Make sure you come along and see all of the festive delights on display at Polesden Lacey this year and don’t forget to get your glass of Mulled wine!
For more information please see the website : http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/polesden-lacey/visitor-information/