We took our first bike ride of the trip today, four miles mostly uphill (except for the bits that were uphill in the other direction) to Tatton Hall. The estate is enormous. At the gate we were told we have another mile to cycle to the hall. There is a huge herd of deer in the grounds, and according to my research assistant (Paula) the house once had a private airfield.
The Egertons (pronounced EJ-ur-ton) owned Tatton from 1598 until 1958, though the current mansion was not completed until the early 1800s. It has a boring neoclassical exterior…
… and a garish baroque interior.
It’s largely untouched by the 20th century, as Maurice (pronounced Morris) Egerton, the last Baron Egerton, preferred to spend his time slaughtering wild animals in Kenya, when he wasn’t founding boys’ clubs or getting smashed up in airplane accidents.
Maurice bought a 100,000 acre estate in Kenya as his personal hunting preserve, ignoring the fact that maybe Kenyan people had been living and hunting there since the dawn of time. He founded an agricultural school there that only admitted white people until after his death in 1958. In other words, he was the sort of imperialist that give imperialism a bad name. Screw him, let’s look at the train tracks in the cellars instead.
Nobody knows any more when they were put in or what they were used for, but it was probably delivering coal and/or beer from the goods entrance to other parts of the house.
There is a little dissertation on eating turtles in a box in the housekeeper’s room. The last sentence will repay careful study.
For those of you living in the alternative dimension where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and not Rudyard Kipling, I hope you are enjoying President Trump. He should be good for a few laughs.
There are notes from the steward scattered about the house.
Of course a gentleman would have brought his own valet (pronounced VAL-ET with the final T just like the Normans did in 1066 and not like your wimpy modern French who can’t be bothered finishing their words) along on a visit. A chap can’t be expected to tie his own shoelaces, can he?