Secrets of Waddesdon Manor

We have so many fun facts and secrets here at Waddesdon but we thought it would be fun to share a few.

House party guests at Waddesdon Manor in the late 19th century

Saturday to Monday parties

Ferdinand's 'Saturday to Monday' parties ranged between 14 and 20 people (not including staff) although on occasions there could be even more!

Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in fancy dress circa 1880

Playing dress up

Despite being an introverted character it didn't stop Ferdinand enjoy a bit of dressing up. When invited to fancy dress balls, he liked to dress as a Renaissance nobleman from Austria.

Table decorations in the Dining Room at Waddesdon Manor

Mind your manners

Did you know that the hedge of roses and carnations down the centre of the table in the Dining Room was to encourage conversation with people on either side of you rather than across the table? This was a late 19th century dining convention.

Queen Victoria's visit to Waddesdon Manor from the Illustrated London News, 14 May 1890

A Royal visit

When Queen Victoria came to stay at Waddesdon, as is tradition with special guests, she planted a tree in the gardens as captured in the Illustrated London News from 14 May 1890.

Virtual tour of the Red Drawing Room at Waddesdon Manor

Virtually Waddesdon

Step in and explore the Red Drawing Room as if one of Ferdinand's high society guests with our 360 virtual tour. Zoom in on the wonderful portraits by Gainsborough and Reynolds.

Miss Alice de Rothschild circa 1870

Miss Alice's rules

Miss Alice was a collector in her own right and her housekeeping regime, known as 'Miss Alice's Rules' have become the basis of National Trust conservation practises.

Winston Churchill as Prime Minister, 1940-1945

Secret smoke

When Winston Churchll came to stay, he would request to stay in the Portico Bedroom as he could step onto the porch roof to smoke a cigar. He was otherwise banned by Alice smoking anywhere else!

The Red Book, photographic album of the creation of Waddesdon Manor

From Mound to Manor

The Red Book is one of the key sources we have relating to Waddesdon during Baron Ferdinand's time. It is an album of photographs along with a short essay by Ferdinand on the process of creating Waddesdon.