Monday, 9 April 2012

Historical research

We all went to Tredegar House on Sunday. The National Trust have just taken it over on a 50 year lease from Newport Council. The trust will conserve and restore it to the tune of 4.5 million pounds. Newport Council bought it in the 1960s when St Josephs school moved to a purpose built glass box. A lot of residents in Newport said it was wrong of the council, that they shouldn't have spent money on a stately home that was going to cost a lot to keep standing. I was always sure they were so right.
 By leasing it to the National Trust they will put it in their handbook and immediately the potential visitors are trebled at least. They have changed the way you view the house and the garden and it is possible to see improvements even though it only opened on April 4th.
 There was an Easter egg hunt, so Miss M took part in that - with a little help from Mummy and Daddy.

I managed to take some pictures of the gates that were restored back in the 1960s by my Dad.The satyr face is cast iron and there was only one of the six originals that was in good enough condition to keep so Dad had to get them recast. He had eight done just in case there were any mishaps. Fortunately all of them cast perfectly so after the restoration was completed he still had two faces. One of them he added to a fireback that he made for the house we used to live in. He put the date that he made it onto the fireback in such a way that it seemed to say 1698 when what it actually says is 1968.
The other face is at the top of my stairs. It has been there for thirty years and because of this it is no longer seen by the family. Miss M was totally surprised when her Grandpa pointed to the gates and told her that she could see the face at home.

When we got inside the house there were loads of changes to what we could see. It was amazing to see how a wedding feast looked in medieval times - some of the house goes back that far while most of the main part was "modernised" in the 1600s. Charles 1 is said to have stayed there when drumming up money for the war he was having with the Roundheads.

There was a huge trunk of dressing up clothes and a shadow theatre and tables with games on them and Miss M had to try everything. She was a little reluctant to dress up until Mummy joined in. and everything was going just great until we overheard the room steward say to someone else "There's dressing up, for the children". We went on to have a play with the games and then upstairs to see the different displays. We loved the gentleman in the 1920s room who told us about Evan Morgan who had a crocodile in his bathroom and snakes that slithered freely around the house. He also had a parrot that he would put down his trousers and let it poke it's head out of his flies. The nice man didn't tell us about this because there were several children in the room but I already knew it.

In the Gilt Room there is the most wonderful painted ceiling and on previous visits I had to crane my neck to try and see it and pretty soon you get a pain down your back and start to feel queasy. Now they have put a day bed in there just like William Morgan would have had when the room was first decorated. Now you can lie down in the name of historical research - Miss M, Harry Bear and Mummy were delighted to test it. They found it good.


Sian said...

It sounds like a great place to visit..and the gates are fabulous! I've told you before about the gates my Grandpa made for his own house after the war, haven't I? (No gilt involved, mind - these are something else!)

Missus Wookie said...

Oh that looks lovely. Way cool on the faces and gates.

My FIL used to do iron work - I've always regretted leaving behind the shelf brackets he made us when we moved house, as it turned out they were the last things he made. :(