Creating antiquity

The west front of the house

Between 1924 and 1932 Baron Ash transformed Packwood. His driving ambition to rid the old house of any trace of its Georgian and Victorian inheritance was in tune with the fashion of the times.

The classical style of the 18th century and the dark, heavily furnished interiors of Victoria’s reign were deeply unfashionable in inter-war England.  Baron Ash aimed to create his own private world and a stage set against which he could live the life of an English country gentleman and where many came to enjoy his primly perfect version of country house hospitality.

" I am proceeding with the utmost caution. I hope that my efforts will not provide the future with an object lesson of what not to do in restoring an old house!"
- Baron Ash, c.1931

Externally one of the biggest changes was the replacement of all the Georgian Gothick sashes with leaded casements in the Jacobean style. This transformed the place entirely and immediately lent a far more antique appearance to each façade.

View of Packwood before its transformation by Baron Ash
Photograph dating from the late 1920s of PAckwood before its transformation by Baron Ash

Baron Ash felt that the perfect country house of Old England had to have a Great Hall and fortunately a large cow barn lay close to the manor house, divided from it by only a couple of hundred yards.

The west front of the house after the transformation
The west front of the house after the transformation

With the addition of a full-height bay window, the installation of a sprung dancing floor and the conversion of the hay rack as a balustrade for a minstrels’ gallery, Baron Ash’s Great Hall was born.