The Edwardian era at Powis

George, 4th Earl of Powis (3rd creation), and his wife Lady Violet.

George Herbert, great-grandson of Edward Clive (Clive of India), inherited the title of 4th Earl of Powis (3rd creation) along with the castle and estate in 1891.

Together he and his wife, Violet, focused on remodelling the castle and garden. 
 

George’s modernisation
 

In 1902 George began modernising the castle, introducing electric lighting and a state of the art hot-water central heating system.
 
At the same time he worked with the architect G.F.Bodley to reinstate 17th Century style décor in many of the state rooms, which he thought was more in keeping with the medieval castle. 
 
You can still see examples of George and Bodley’s work in the castle today particularly in the State Dining room, the Oak Drawing Room and the Duke’s Room. 
 
The Oak Drawing Room at Powis Castle and Garden
The Oak Drawing Room at Powis Castle and Garden, Powys, Wales

Violet’s creation
 

While at Powis, Violet, Countess of Powis, persuaded George to let her manage and improve the garden. 
 
Violet worked on the garden for over 18 years; relocating a kitchen garden she considered unsightly, to make room for a typical Edwardian formal garden with flat open spaces set within hedges and walls. 
 
" ‘[I intend to make the garden at Powis] one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful in England and Wales’ "
- Lady Violet, Countess of Powis

In 1912, she also commissioned Bodly to produce the spectacular wrought iron gates in the fountain garden as a present for George’s birthday.
 
Violet’s Edwardian garden with a croquet lawn, flowering borders and meticulously trimmed fruit trees, is still one of our garden’s highlights today. 
 

Tragedy strikes
 

In the Edwardian period the estate was at its height, and important guests arrived every weekend throughout the winter season including, in November 1909, the Prince and Princess of Wales. 
 
However, this golden era was not to last and sadly, George suffered three family tragedies. 
 
In 1916 his elder son, Percy, was fatally wounded on the Somme; in 1929 Violet died after a car accident and in 1942, his younger son, Mervyn was killed in an aeroplane crash during active service. 

With no direct heir to the castle, on his death bed in 1952 George bequeathed Powis to the nation, in the care of the National Trust.

Join us to find out more about George, Violet and the Edwardian era throughout the year at Powis.