Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

Calke Abbey

At some point I'm planning a guest blog elsewhere on 'Aristocratic Super-hoarders'. For now, though, a bit about one property whose former owners would definitely qualify for that one. I think I've always been dimly aware of Calke Abbey's history, but it was brought to the forefront of my mind when I read Deborah Devonshire's description of paying a visit when the last of the family to own it were still in residence. If I remember correctly, she commented on some packing cases, and was told they contained a bed which had never been unpacked. When was it delivered? Sometime in the 18th century, apparently. Well, the bed's still there, although the National Trust have now unpacked it, reassembled it and given it a climate controlled case to try and keep it looking just as it did when delivered. The rest of the house and contents aren't in such good condition, though.

Not much else has been replaced, repaired or redecorated inside or outside the house from Victorian times until it came into the National Trust's ownership in the 1980s. Since then, work has been carried out to stop the situation getting worse, but no attempt has been made to tidy things up. Nor have any of the hoarded items been removed (other than temporarily while work was carried out, then everything was replaced exactly where it had been found).

On with the tour...

This magnificent set of buildings is actually the stable block, but peek round the open doors and you'll see the first evidence of the vast quanties of stuff stored everywhere:

Calke Abbey 220712 (2) Calke Abbey 220712 (11)

The noticeboard on the wall doesn't seem to have been touched in years, and nor does this corner of the garden:

Calke Abbey 220712 (18) Calke Abbey 220712 (23)

And here's the house itself;

Calke Abbey 220712 (26) Calke Abbey 220712 (29)

The dining room and library are rather grand:

Calke Abbey 220712 (35) Calke Abbey 220712 (47)

But elsewhere no one's tidied in decades, and the decor leaves a little to be desired:

Calke Abbey 220712 (63) Calke Abbey 220712 (69)

Calke Abbey 220712 (76) Calke Abbey 220712 (84)

Calke Abbey 220712 (77) Calke Abbey 220712 (87)

Full set of photos starts here. Not all are great quality, but then neither was the lighting.

Calke Abbey is well worth a visit if you happen to be in Derbyshire, and I can recommend either the days on which it's fully open or the days when they hold 'themed tours'.
Tags: inspiration, photos, truth stranger than fiction
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