Carvings from the seven years' war

Delicate wooden carvings made by the French prisoners of war © Cathy Hickey

Delicate wooden carvings made by the French prisoners of war

From our archives we now have two unusual wooden pieces on show. They were carved between 1756-1763, by the French prisoners of war who were prisoners here when the government leased the buildings as a detention centre. With not much to occupy their time, the inmates resorted to finding their own amusement and the carvings are great examples of their creations. It was these unfortunate naval prisoners who coined the phrase 'Sissinghurst chateau', and that's why Sissinghurst is known by the name 'Sissinghurst Castle'.

Vita's writing room

Vita's writing room in the Elizabethan tower

Vita liked to garden during the day, and in the evening she wrote her books and weekly gardening columns.

This daily routine continued until her death in 1962. The writing room is as she left it, take a look through the wrought iron gate on your way up to the top of the tower.

Recreating the library

Recovering the sofa in the library

During 2011 we refurbished some of the furniture in the library as the original sofa and armchair brought from Long Barn had long gone.
New seating was purchased and re-covered with a similar pattern originally chosen by Vita.  Warner’s supplied the pattern called ‘Floating Magnolia-Beige on Stone’, the seats make a great place to stop and soak up the atmosphere.

'The Big Room'

Archive photo of the library from the donor family album © Juliet Nicolson

Archive photo of the library from the donor family album

When Vita and Harold Sackville-West bought the property in 1930 this room was the farm’s stable.  Over the years they transformed it into their library, inserting a large window on the north wall and installing wooden panelling and floor. Occasionally they used to entertain visitors, amongst them the Queen Mother and Sir Winston Churchill.  Over the next two years, their 11,000 book collection will be undergoing extensive conservation.  This work will be on view to the public during March/April and October take a look at our events page for updates.