Shedding light on 'Hampshire's leading citizen'

Sir Charles Chute pictured in military uniform.

In this intimate display, on show until 7 September 2020, find out how the estate survived through the turbulence of two World Wars. Featuring memorabilia from members of the family, highlights include Sir Charles Chute’s Great War medals, personal photographs and a touching homemade banner to celebrate his return from the horrors of the Front in 1918.

In commemoration of the Trust’s 125th anniversary in 2020, this intimate display looks back at The Vyne’s last 125 years, and some of the tumultuous and poignant events that immersed the house and its inhabitants.  

Once home from active service in the First World War, Sir Charles immersed himself in helping others. Paying tribute to his compassion, this installation explores his philanthropic work in Hampshire, overhauling the agricultural industry to prevent wartime starvation, establishing the Home Guard in the 1940s, and working tirelessly to support local charities and hospitals. 

A banner welcomes Sir Charles Chute home from the Front in 1918.
A banner welcomes Sir Charles Chute home from the Front in 1918.
A banner welcomes Sir Charles Chute home from the Front in 1918.

The eclectic mix of exhibits also includes schoolboy mementos from the occupation of the house by Tormore School for boys, evacuated from Kent in 1940. You’ll uncover some of the boys’ memories too, including the story of an infamous graffiti job on a marble bust of the Queen of Scots. You can still see the results of this today if you pop into the Tudor oak gallery. 

Younger visitors can picture themselves in an evacuee’s shoes coming to live in a grand country house. On display, you’ll see letters and drawings the boys hid behind the panelling in the Oak Gallery which was used as a dormitory. These remained untouched for years until they were discovered during a conservation project. 

The pupils’ itinerary of intensive study and strict rationing was brightened by their playful antics and forays. A wander through the exhibit will shed light on these mischievious adventures.