Saturday, 23 September 2017



Thanks for visiting.

Having seen the 12th Century villagers heading down the street in Guildford during the Heritage Open Days, it was inevitable that the Castle would be the next port of call.  It's always a treat visiting the Castle due to the excellent gardens surrounding it.

Unusually though, this time there was a 12th Century encampment causing a stir.  Battle training was even in action.  Historia Normannis is a reenactment group bringing history to life.

The castle tower was open, so I thought I had better go in and climb the 44 steps to show you the view from the top as I haven't done that before.  It's not too high and you are held in a cage at the top  so it's all fine from the feeling squiffy viewpoint although the stairs are fairly steep, spiralling stone steps as you'd expect.

As an added bonus for Game of Thrones fans and/or  Embroiders Guild fans, there's a Whitewalker there at the moment, commissioned by HBO for Series 5.


Friday, 22 September 2017

Finish for the Weekend 2


Lovely to see you.

Jill at Emerald Cottage has got us all working on our craft projects ready for today's link-up called Finish for the Weekend.  Do follow the link to see how everyone's getting along.  People do come up with some great ideas.

Having the link-up in mind all week, I've been pressing on with the blanket I showed you last week.  I've only got 18 more squares to go and 7 of those are partially completed.  The wonky pile is growing!

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Guildford Guildhall


Lovely to see you!

Our next stop in Guildford on the Heritage Open Days trail, is the Guildhall which is easily spotted on the High Street as it has a balcony and a wonderful clock overhanging the road.

The Mayor and Corporation of Guildford used to meet in the Guildhall to regulate commerce and it is also where the Courts of Law sat in judgement.  There was a Medieval Guildhall on the site but this one was built in Elizabethan times. Queen Elizabeth I actually visited in 1589.

Heading through the outer room and up the red carpeted stairs, I made a beeline for the balcony.  Only six people allowed on it at any one time, it offers great views up and down the High Street.  I didn't except to see a troupe of 12th Century villagers marching down the road.  Followed by Tweedledum and Tweedledee!

Historia Normannis

There they go marching through Tunsgate Square on their way to the Castle.

Inside the plush interior plus the portraits and the official silverware look impressive.

Downstairs the Chamber with beamed ceiling and heraldic stained glass windows, was set out ready for story telling. Behind the judges bench was the retiring  room, complete with an historic Mayor ready to relive the day in 1915 when a zeppelin circled over Guildford dropping 12 bombs .

Back in the main chamber, the walls displayed royal portraits, a German two handed sword used in processions and measures used to check quantities of grain for tolls.  Over the stairs that would have led to the cells, was this rather grand clock made in the 1790s by Robert Stennett of Bath.  After the 1797 Act taxing watches, this type of clock was known as Act of Parliament clocks as they were used in public places so people wouldn't need a watch.

Fancy there being a tax on watches!


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Undercroft


Thanks for dropping in.

It's Heritage Open Day time again where hundreds of buildings open their doors to the public for free.  Last year I visited Eagle House School which I found fascinating so I had a look at the website to see what was on offer locally.  A trip to Guildford was on the cards as I would be able to go to three places quite close to each other - the medieval Undercroft, the Guildhall and the Castle.

Today we're going down the steps to the Undercroft right in the middle of the High Street.  It was built in the 13th Century as a merchant's shop selling wine or expensive cloths or silk.  Undercrofts were very expensive to build with all the vaulting so the merchant must have had very wealthy customers to be able to afford to build it.

It has a few carvings and initials marked in the posts.  A model of the Undercroft shows that there was originally another shop on top but this has been replaced.


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Architects' Proposals


Thanks for calling in.

There are six teams of Architects on the Shortlist to take Clandon Park, the National Trust property near Guildford, into the future following the devastating fire in 2015. They were whittled down from sixty entrants to the competition and their designs are currently on display at the Park until 1st October with the winning team being announced at the end of October. Completion of the entire project isn't expected until 5-7 years from now.  It will be really interesting to watch the project progress.

The brief can be found here but the teams had to develop ideas on the restoration of certain important ground floor rooms, flexible spaces for use for exhibitions, new visitor facilities and possible new landscaping.

The six teams and their proposals can be found here.

I couldn't resist a few random unbiased photos though!

Which one do you prefer?


Monday, 18 September 2017

Clandon Park


Thanks for calling in.

Back in April 2015, I visited Clandon Park, the National Trust property not far from Guildford, here's a link to my post.  Little did I know that barely two weeks later, the beautiful building would be engulfed in a terrible fire caused by a malfunction of an electrical panel.  

At first it wasn't known if it could be saved, many precious items were lost but many were rescued and one room was totally untouched.  As the building had a lead roof which had melted and coated everything in toxic fumes, it was necessary to clean everything that had come from the site.  The building was carefully cleared and 32 miles of  scaffolding and cover erected to protect the shell.  Here's a link to the NT website with more details.  I went to visit as part of the Heritage Open Days.

The tour took us inside the building to see three of the damaged rooms so it was important to wear a hard hat and fluorescent jacket to be on the safe side and we were told not to worry about the clonking sounds of the scaffolding above.

Entering the Saloon, the stark brickwork towers above you, gone all the wall covering, plaster ceiling and finery, instead you can see all the way up through the different floors to the protective covering.  A faded fireplace still looks impressive.

Moving into the famous two storey white Marble Hall,  again the fireplaces have miraculously been spared as floor joists and ceilings collapsed into the centre of the room.  Fireplaces high up from the top floor look rather strange, isolated.

Statues are held in place on the right in case they should crash down whereas to the left only scars remain from the staircase which used to have a beautiful carving of a fish on the finial.

Looking through the gaps into the other rooms, you can't help but feel a sense of devastation.  Rooms to the left were more damaged as this was where the fire started, those to the right were less affected.

Back in the Saloon, the Guide pointed out that the fire had revealed that the windows were actually arched and not rectangular as they had seemed.  Joists were analysed and found to be younger than expected - they were felled in the Spring of 1729 in the Baltic and installed in the following Winter which showed that the building was incomplete when the King visited that year.  Outside, even, they uncovered a buried garden. A lot of research has been possible and it still carries on.

The State Bedroom had fragments of red wallpaper that had been applied in the 1970s.   Underneath, the blue panelling was revealed.

The National Trust has some difficult decisions to make for the future. At the moment a competition is being run inviting Architects to submit their ideas.  Six out of the sixty entered have been shortlisted and we'll look at that another time.