The Clandon Park volunteer talks service

An audience listening to a talk

Since the fire at Clandon Park, we've been determined to continue to share Clandon’s stories and our progress, despite the current limitations of the site. Our talks service gives you the chance to have one of our volunteer speakers visit your society, club or group. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable, our team are available to give a variety of talks to groups of all sizes.

Clandon Park was conceived to impress and dazzle. Commissioned by politician Thomas, Lord Onslow, and built by Italian, Swiss and English craftsmen, Clandon was designed for entertaining high society, including royalty. An extended Jacobean hunting lodge was swept away, signaling the arrival of a new style in architecture with the transition from Baroque to Palladianism.

Uncover more about this significant house and the Onslow family who lived there. Our dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable volunteers will share their years of research and experience with you.

Simply choose the subject about which you'd like to hear, download and complete our talks service booking form, then email it back to us. You can find all the information below.

What talks are available?

Archaeologists at work in the State Bedroom

Clandon Park: the fire and the future

On 29 April 2015, a devastating fire broke out at Clandon. During this talk we will delve into the salvage phase. We’ll focus on the important discoveries made about the structure of the house, the detailed construction surveys, the important decision to restore this significant local and national treasure, and the design competition to find the architect that will bring Clandon Park back to life.

Hospital patients at Clandon Park

Clandon Park as a hospital

Between 1914 and 1919, Clandon Park was a Hospital for those injured on the front line. From the winter of 1914, Countess Violet, wife of the 5th Earl was Commandant. There were 5,600 patients admitted from all the major battles, and all parts of the Commonwealth. Using patients’ records, contemporary photographs, diaries and memories, this special period in Clandon’s history is remembered.

Watercolour view of Clandon's east side

Clandon Park: the history of a house

Designed by Italian architect Giacomo Leoni, Clandon Park is one of only five remaining Leoni mansions in Britain. Commissioned by the ambitious Onslow family and built on the site of their Jacobean mansion, this talk explores the building of a magnificent house and the awe inspiring internal decoration. Discover the changes made to the house and surrounding land by successive generations.

A portrait of Thomas, 2nd Lord Onslow

Clandon Park and the Onslow Family

The Palladian house is our setting for this delve into the Onslow family. From Richard, the first member of the Onslow family to be Speaker of the House of Commons, through to William Hillier Onslow, who inherited the house and earldom at the tender age of 17. Despite his youth, William reinvigorated Clandon’s fortunes after a period of neglect, before it was donated to the National Trust by his daughter.

A portrait of the Great Speaker with Walpole

The Onslows in Surrey

Focusing on the significant role the Onslow family has played in Surrey history since the 1550s. They represented Surrey or Guildford in Parliament for over 400 years, with members of the family also serving as Lord Lieutenants of the County and High Stewards of Guildford. Discover extraordinary local happenings, such as the affair of Mary Toft and the scandal of the Tichborne Claimant.

Hinemihi at Clandon Park

The New Zealand connection

Nestled under a tree in the garden is an extraordinary building. One of only four Māori meeting houses outside of New Zealand, and the only one of these outdoors in a non-museum setting, Hinemihi is an internationally significant building. Brought back to Clandon Park by the 4th Earl following his term of office as Governor of New Zealand, she has stood here for almost 130 years.

Good to know

  • Locations: Our speakers are based in Surrey and Hampshire and can typically travel up to 20 miles to give talks.
  • Requirements: We'll need car parking close to the venue and access in advance to set up.
  • Equipment: A PowerPoint presentation is used to illustrate talks. Please let us know that you're able to supply a laptop, projector and connection cables.
  • Costs: We ask for a donation to help us cover the cost of providing the talks service.