Ringing the changes at Polesden

You may have read Charlotte’s post a few weeks ago where she mentioned that from March 25 this year, we will be opening 363 days a year at Polesden Lacey.  I thought this might be a good opportunity to give you a sneak peek into some of the new spaces that we will be opening over the next two years and some of the new stories that we hope to share with you.

Although we are going to be open for the whole year, some of our rooms remain fragile in terms of the collections that are housed in them, meaning they will still need to be rested at times.  This will also allow our conservation work to continue all year round, at the same time as giving us the chance to open lots of new spaces in the house, which will allow us to tell different stories at different times of the year.

So if you come to Polesden from September-November this year, you will find out more about the private lives of Mrs Greville and her close family, while from January to March 2017 we will be sharing more of the stories of those who worked at Polesden during Mrs Greville’s time here.  At other times of year we will be focusing on different aspects of Polesden’s history – from its royal visitors to Mrs Greville’s legendary Christmas house parties!

If you visited us at Christmas, you will have seen some of our servants’ areas, which were open to the public for the first time, including the Housemaids Room.


The Housemaids’ Room during Christmas 2015


As part of our (January-March) Servants offer we will be adding to this, enabling you to see the Servants Hall and some of the male servants’ bedrooms.


One of the male servants’ bedrooms in its current form


We hope that this will enable us to tell more of the stories of those who worked at Polesden.  And it won’t just be in the house – you will be able to learn more about those who worked in the gardens and on the estate too.

While many of the servants’ rooms in the house are much the same size and shape as they were in Mrs Greville’s time, there are some areas that have been hugely altered. Most of these alterations were made by the National Trust in the 1980s to provide more office space for the regional offices, which were based at Polesden Lacey.  The regional offices have now relocated, which gives us a chance to return many areas of the house back to how they were when Mrs Greville left the house to the Trust in 1942.  For instance, the photos below show the two ends of one of the main corridors upstairs, which we hope to reopen as part of the project.

North end of Upper West Corridor

North end of Upper West Corridor

South end of Upper West Corridor

South end of Upper West Corridor


By returning the corridors to their previous positions, we will also be able to reinstate many of the upstairs rooms to their original size and many of these spaces will also be opened for the first time in 2016 and 2017.

We’re really excited to be sharing more of the stories of Polesden Lacey and more of its spaces with you – please keep your eyes peeled for more updates as the work continues to make this happen!


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