One Lady's Legacy and Love
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In 2012 the team at Dudmaston had a decision to make. With over 850 years of family history, involving a host of different characters, what and who should we focus on to help bring our property to life for our visitors?
After lots of investigations and a mix of different ideas and views it was felt that everything came back to one significant lady; Rachel, Lady Labouchere, Dudmaston’s last chatelaine, who gifted the property to the Trust in 1978; and so the work began.
Sir George Labouchere was a diplomat and thus through their lives together they lived in various different countries throughout the world. Their aim, however, was always to return to Dudmaston. As Lady Labouchere stipulated “If I agreed to share his life he must help me, eventually, in my task of saving Dudmaston”. So how, we thought, can we bring the fascinating story of this wonderful lady to life?
What you will see today is the result of 12 months’ hard work. People that knew Lady Labouchere have come in to talk to us, and the many diaries and personal letters that we hold within our collection have all been read, to ensure that we could tell you the story of her life as a diplomat’s wife, and the agreement she and Sir George had to come back to Dudmaston and prepare the property for its transition into the care of the National Trust.
A new visitor route has been developed, incorporating new rooms, and a journey through the life of the Labouchere’s whilst they were in diplomatic service. Visitors are then guided into an area most people do not expect to find in a National Trust property, art galleries. These were set up by the Labouchere’s to house their extensive collections of both botanical and modern art.
Art was significant to both of them and Sir George was a firm believer in assisting up-and-coming artists. We are still upholding his vision today through exhibitions in our tea-room and by supporting an artist in residence. We do hope that you enjoy ‘modern Dudmaston’.