Coming home to Croome
Croome Court is never going to be a traditional National Trust property with rooms full of period artefacts. Instead it is our intention to use much of the space within the court, on a rotating basis, to show items from the remaining Croome Collection in innovative ways.
Croome collection accessible store
We are developing an accessible store on the second floor where we will offer guided tours by volunteers of the various store rooms.
On the first floor we will utilise two rooms, one to store items and one will be a conservation studio where visitors can come and view items from the store being conserved by our staff and volunteer conservators.
The stores on the second floor will be available to view from January 2017 and we are hopeful that the rest will all be in place from the middle of 2017, so please keep coming back to see how we are getting along.
Please ask a volunteer to take you to see the store rooms when you come to Croome.
The Croome collection
The 6th Earl of Coventry, George William, at the age of 28 succeeded as Earl of Coventry on the death of his father in 1751 and inherited Croome Court.
He undertook an ambitious development of the Court and parkland and it was his aim for Croome to be at the height of fashion. He sought the first and the best of everything that he admired and brought it to Croome Court; he amassed a fantastic collection of porcelain, furniture, tapestries, paintings and many other contemporary pieces.
The breakup of the Croome Collection
As with many landed families, fortunes were won and lost and by 1948, the Earls of Coventry had run out of time and money. With the onslaught of the Second World War and the tragic loss of the 10th Earl in battle, it was resolved that Croome Court, the park and the estate had to be sold.
The majority of contents of the house that had not previously been sold off were sold at auction and the court itself was sold to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham. It was fitted out as a boarding school for boys and run by the Society of St Vincent de Paul. St Joseph’s had about 140 pupils from all over the country.
The remainder of the collection which had not sold in the auction was moved to nearby Earls Croome Court where the Coventrys took up residence.
A new home for the collection
On the death of the 11th Earl in 2002 and the subsequent sale of Earls Croome Court, it became necessary for the Croome Heritage Trustees to find a new home for the porcelain, furniture and family portraits which had been retained.
Until recently many of these items (around 1200) have been stored and exhibited at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire.
The collection comes home
After extensive remedial and re-servicing work of Croome Court during 2014 to 2016, it is now a suitable environment once again to store and exhibit the remaining items of the collection.
Over the last few weeks the Croome treasures have been delivered, staff and volunteers have brought the items back to the house cataloguing everything using the National Trust Collection Management System.
The objects that have returned include an incredibly important collection of Vincennes, Sevres and Meissen porcelain which are on display in our Golden Box in the Dining Room.
There are examples of George III furniture, including Mayhew and Ince commodes on display in the Lords Dressing Room and a number of portraits by Allan Ramsay which some of which are now hung within the house.