Take the Bankers' Garden Ramble 2016

Follow the directions round the perimeter of the garden and discover how these ordinary people enjoyed the beautiful gardens after a hard days work at the bank.

Swimming and exploring

The highlight for the summer was the Swimming Pool, built in 1936. This was perfect for an early morning swim before work, but if the air raid siren sounded, day or night, the staff would gather beneath it in the plant room for safety.

Having lived in a big city all their lives it was lovely to be in the countryside; although they did all miss and worry about their families at home. The bank bought the staff a pair of wellington boots, as well as a bicycle or two, to explore the local countryside.

Keeping safe

'We’re told this is usually a lovely, reflective mirror pool. It’s had to be drained though for just this reason; we don’t want enemy pilots to be able to use the reflected light to help find their bombing targets!’

Foraging

‘I was always very fond of nuts.  At Upton one day I collected a sack full of cobs.  Then I heard there was a walnut tree on the farm.  I found this and was collecting a sack full of walnuts when a double barrelled gun was prodded in my back.  A farmer said “Those are my nuts”.  “However,” he said, “Pick up whatever you want.”  I could hardly carry the sack home!’ Barney Adler, Assistant Chief Accountant

Land Army

‘Walking along the Yew Terrace here we sometimes spot one of the local land girls in the distance; on their way to work on the estate. I believe there are eight of them living in the Upton stables now the horses and grooms are gone to war.’

The borders at Upton were turned over to growing fruit and veg for the war effort; the bank staff were very fortunate to have a few extras to supplement our rations.

‘We really are very lucky; imagine living and working in an extraordinary place like this! However we are looking forward to going home to our families when the war is over.’