Discover the hidden delights of Charlecote Park
Our volunteer room guides share the hidden delights of Charlecote Park with you here. It's easy to overlook exceptional items in the house - and there's always a story to tell. Take time to chat to our room guides during your visit and you’re bound to uncover something intriguing.
Great Hall: treading on history
So many people walk around the Great Hall gazing up at the family portraits that they overlook what’s under their feet. Look carefully at the Italian stone floor tiles and you’ll find fine examples of fossils.
Library: artistic attention to detail
The intricately carved grand Charlecote Buffet in the library includes a poignant detail. Pam Redford says, ‘If you look carefully at the slain deer on the left-hand side, what seems to be damage to the carving is, in fact, where the artist has included the fatal shot to the animal.'
Library: 2,000-year-old Greek vases
‘Everyone thinks they’re copies but they’re not’, says Anne Reeve in the Library. She’s talking about possibly the oldest artefacts at Charlecote; the Greek vases high above the books. They date from the 6th century BC and were acquired by the Lucy family in the 1830s.
Billiard table: a different game
The billiard table is just that: not a snooker table. ‘Snooker is a modern game,’ says Chris Purvis. 'The Victorians were definitely playing billiards. Look out for the wooden cups under the table that swing out for the chalk. They wouldn’t have kept the chalk in their pockets, like today’s snooker players.’ See the billiard cues too - their weight was marked so that players could pick their preference.
Drawing Room: petals and pedals
Tucked away in a cabinet in the Drawing Room are the lovingly-preserved floral bridal wreaths of Mary Elizabeth’s daughters, Caroline and Christina. Room guide, Susie Walker loves the CD of harp music that plays in here. The music was written by Queen Victoria’s harpist, John Thomas, who acquired the unusual 8-pedalled harp for Mary Elizabeth for 100 guineas.
Ebony and Orange bedrooms: secrets
The wallpaper in the Ebony Bedroom is an exact reproduction of the Victorian wallpaper, thanks to a piece of the original in the Lucy family records. Frances Thompson says: ‘There are steps to get up to the high mattress but these were useful for something else – lift the lid and that’s where the chamber pot is kept.' The room guide can show you.
Look at the ceiling in the Orange Bedroom and you’ll see a short wooden pole over the bed. Sheila Freeman says it was a very fashionable French idea to have a curtained drape, suspended from this pole, over the bed.
The kitchen: A little light work
You'll finish your visit to the house in the Victorian kitchen. Take a look at the far end of the huge original kitchen table, nearest the window. The cook would have worked at this end to make best use of the available light in the days before electricity. The table is worn down where she would have scrubbed it clean many times a day.