Newsletter – June 2011

June 25th, 2011 by JCope

It was a great pleasure to welcome Spencer Trickett back to our June meeting to talk about the recent developments at Witley Court.  Spencer, who works for English Heritage at Witley, took us through the more recent history of the building using contemporary and modern photographs.  The history of the Foleys, the Earls of Dudley and subsequent acquisition by a Kidderminster carpet manufacturer was well known by many members but Spencer was able to give fresh insight into the disastrous fire of 1937, using photographs and an eye-witness account by an ex-fireman.  The comparison between the glamorous interiors and the Royal visitors pre-1914 and the ruined shell of today was made even more poignant when we learned how relatively little damage the fire caused and how much had been stripped by scrap dealers.  By the 1960s trees were growing in the building but thankfully the Department of the Environment intervened in 1972 and since then the fountains have been restored, the gardens returned to something approaching their original glory and, funds permitting, the roof may be put back one day.

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