The ladies who lived at Wrest Park were prolific readers, as can be seen by the open bookcases lining the walls of the two exquisitely decorated libraries. Throughout March, English Heritage will be honouring this tradition with a series of lectures given by some of Britain’s top female history writers.
The original mediaeval Wrest Park mansion is long gone, torn down by Thomas de Grey in the 1830s and replaced by the opulent Chateau-style dwelling which now stands. The last surviving member of the de Grey family died in 1923, following which the house and gardens fell into neglect until being rescued by English Heritage which – in a joint project with the Wolfson Foundation – has restored the mansion and its 18th century gardens to their former glory.
Today, it is possible for visitors from Lancashire to see the open bookcases that would have been used by Lady Henrietta and her daughters, and view Victorian dining chairs and antique desks comparable with the ones that were here when the opulent Louis XV-style rooms were first decorated. Those wanting to learn more about the lives of the de Grey family can do so with a new interactive display. Better still, they can attend Sara Sheridan’s lecture ‘How To Be A Lady’, one of several literary events in March, in which top-selling historical novelists share their research and knowledge to bring the stately home and its owners back to life.
People in the Ribble Valley can find Victorian balloon backed dining chairs and antique desks, like those used by Lady Henrietta and her descendants, by visiting their local antiques dealer.
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