Spring is my favourite time of year and Polesden Lacey is positively alive with signs of spring at the moment. Snowdrops and crocus’s are out along lime walk, the winter garden is full of fragrant aconites and we can even see the daffodils poking their emerald green heads up out of the dewy grass.
Signs of spring can be seen in the house too! As covers start to come off furniture and we prepare the house to open 7 days a week, life is springing back into Polesden Lacey once more.
These preparations are reminiscent of what country house servants had to do every spring before their owners returned to their country retreats. Those rooms that has been put to bed are woken and each room carefully arranged, flowers bought back into the house, the clocks have been restarted and the house is full of life once again. Uncovering this furniture really is wonderful task and we have an excellent team of volunteers that have been helping the house team to get the house looking at its best. Our conservation demonstrators have been in helping us put all the little trinkets and notebooks back on Mrs G’s desks and make sure that everything is in its place, just as Mrs G would have expected of her servants in her time.
One of things we miss all winter is the glorious flowers that really bring colour into the house. Our wonderful team of Flower arrangers have been busy this week creating new arrangements around the house ready for our visitors to enjoy from the start of March.
This year we have a few new things for visitors to see and new stories of Polesden to explore. If you visited at Christmas you may have seen the housekeepers linen room which we opened for the first time. Since Christmas we have worked hard on returning this room to how it would have looked. The original floor has been revealed and the walls painted to reflect the original colour. Its exciting to open up areas of the house that have previously only been seen by staff, we really hope that you visit us soon and take advantage of these newly opened areas.
This year the smoking room will play host to a new display all about Polesden Lacey’s use as a convalescent home during WW1. Mrs Greville gave over half of her house to be used as convalescent home for officers during the first world war and the first wounded officers started arriving in June 1915. After experiencing the horrors of war Polesden Lacey offered a quiet retreat for the men to recuperate and created lasting happy memories. The exhibition features stories about the officers and nurses who stayed at Polesden during this time, with photographs and objects to connect to their stories.
While the smoking room is being used for the WW1 display we have decided to move the photographs normally displayed in this room to their original historic location, in Mrs Geville’s apartment. If you have been Polesden Lacey you will know that this are was used as a staff flat until a few years ago. Alongside our peeling back to layers exhibition (which was new last year) the photographs relly bring the apartment to life and its great to see all the photographs still on display rather than putting them away in a sark storeroom for a year.
The house is open on weekdays for tours from 11-12.30 and from 12.30 until 5 for free flow visiting. On weekends the house is open from 11-5 for freeflow visiting. Now that spring is here it is the perfect time for visiting the grounds and seeing the flowers pocking thier heads out and heading into the house to see whats new. Hope to see you all soon!