The Disraelis bought Hughenden in 1848. In the early 1860s the Georgian stucco was removed to reveal the original brickwork. Additional pinnacles, new windows and elaborate brickwork completely modernised the manor.
Mary Anne's drawing room
Mary Anne Disraeli adored bright colours, especially blue and gold. These colours can be seen in the drawing room and bedroom.
Books, books and more books
Benjamin loved books. He wrote 21 books during his life time. When he was particularly hard up, he would write a book to quickly make money. He once said 'if I want to read a novel I will write it myself'.
Mary Anne's foot
Benjamin had a marble sculpture of Mary Anne's foot made from an original cast. He got the idea from Queen Victoria who had casts of her children's feet made.
Benjamin spent a lot of time in his library. He inherited 25,000 books from his father but sold many of them to pay his debts.
Disraeli the unlikely prime minister
The serious side of Disraeli’s political career is most evident in his study with iconic items such as a red dispatch box. A more light-hearted view is painted by cartoons of the period or quotes such as his explanation of the difference between a misfortune and a calamity. Younger visitors will enjoy spotting evocative Victorian items or dressing up in styles of the era.
Disraeli a colourful character
Disraeli was a colourful character in more ways than one. As a young man he was known for his womanising ways and early foreign adventure, however it wasn’t only the things he did that were colourful. He developed a very flamboyant fashion sense and during a stay in Malta he wrote to his brother Ralph; ‘ You should see me in the costume of a Greek pirate. A blood-red shirt, with silver studs as big as shillings, an immense scarf for girdle, full of pistols and daggers, red cap, red slippers, broad blue striped jacket and trousers’. Colourful indeed!
Secrets of war
Hughenden’s 1940’s wartime role was such a closely guarded secret it only became clear comparatively recently. Closeness to Chequers and the wooded hillside surroundings meant it was convenient for Churchill and hard to spot from enemy reconnaissance planes. The basement and ice house now allow the story to be told with informative displays and interactive exhibits.
Mary Anne filled Hughenden with colour
At Hughenden the colourful nature of his wife Mary Anne also shines through with vibrant decorative schemes in the Manor and bright floral displays on the South Lawn. The very unusual chiffonier in the Drawing Room is a great example of Mary Anne’s taste.