Newsletter – July 2009

July 30th, 2009 by JCope

A record number of visitors joined members to hear Barbara Middlemass talk on ‘The Tale of Two Mansions – Impney and Ynas y Maengwyn’ at the July meeting.  Barbara’s presentation was the story of John Corbett, the Salt King.  Corbett worked in his father’s canal business before buying the derelict salt works near Stoke Prior, from which he made his fortune.  In 1856 he married Anna O’Meara, whom he had met in Paris and by 1869 he felt that he needed a house of distinction near Droitwich.

Thus work began on the now well-known classical French style chateau at Impney.  The house stood in 155 acres of land, had 23 bedrooms, contained masses of panelled woodwork and stained glass and was the first in Droitwich to have gas and electricity.  By now a Liberal MP, Corbett was rapidly becoming famous for his philanthropy and in 1878 bought the house and 1500 acres at Ynas y Maengwyn, near Towyn in Wales.

Following Corbett’s death in 1901 the estate passed to his brother and then to John’s son but the good times were over and whilst Chateau Impney survived to become a hotel, Ynas y Maengwyn was eventually blown up by the Royal Engineers.  Thankfully much of Impney is as it was in Corbett’s time and members of the Society were looking forward to enjoying lunch there in August.

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