Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

Exploring the Ruins of Witley Court Part One

Having breakfasted at Shelsley Walsh last Sunday, I decided to visit the nearby English Heritage Property, Witley Court. The property was undergoing maintenance, so some areas were off-limits or obscured by scaffolding, but I still got a fair number of decent photos.

The house was at its finest in the Victorian era, and was visited by the Prince of Wales amongst others. However, its owners fortunes steadily declined and it was sold in 1920 and some parts were left unused. Then in 1937, a fire destroyed much of the interiors and what could be salvaged was sold off. In the 1950s, any remaining features that could be stripped and sold off were, but then the house and grounds were saved from demolition and redevelopment and preserved with the house in its current state and the gardens restored as much as possible to how they had once been.

The property is an awesome sight when finally reached after a long walk through woods and around a lake:
Witley Court 080913 (4)

The main steps were closed off:
Witley Court 080913 (12)

So I had to enter through the ballroom to the east, from where I could turn round to look at one of the gardens:
Witley Court 080913 (19)

Witley Court 080913 (22)

The ballroom was the most extensively damaged in the fire, and the damage can still be seen, along with remnants of undamaged shutters:
Witley Court 080913 (26)

Witley Court 080913 (27) Witley Court 080913 (28) Witley Court 080913 (29)

Looking down the length of the entrance hall towards where the stairs used to be (following the fire, parts of the old building were rediscovered too):
Witley Court 080913 (23)

The Michelangelo Pavillion still has its original floors, while the remains of the Conservatory are still impressive:
Witley Court 080913 (36) Witley Court 080913 (37)

More on the gardens, and on the rather impressive church attached to the house to follow...

[ETA:] Apparently the fireplaces throughout the house were fitted with crinoline guards following the deaths in 1858 of Earl Bradford's two daughters at Weston Park. Now that's a tragedy that wouldn't be easily believed if it occurred in a gothic novel
Tags: architectural heritage, for reference, inspiration, out and about, photos, real life, truth stranger than fiction
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