We went to Bedfordshire to visit our friends Leslie and Nigel. Leslie was a flat-mate when we were at University.
Our friends took us to a country mansion about 20 miles from their home. Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire was one of the homes of the Rothschild Family. England has many country mansions built by wealthy people down through the centuries. Waddesdon was build very quickly in late Victorian Times and occupied from 1880. It's in the style of a French Chateau.
The house is extraordinary. The contents are even more extraordinary. The gardens are exquisite. And there is an aviary. We enjoyed lunch in the building that was once the stables. The food was excellant.
In the grounds, which cover several square miles, there is an archive centre which opened in 2011. A beautiful 21st Century building. Architecture at its best.
There is a TV program called "Grand Designs" which visits the planning and construction of exotic homes. A recent winner of the Annual Prize is a house in the Estate. It's a private residence and not open to the public, however we took some photos from outside. All of the houses in "Grand Designs" are one-off enterprises. Not all are expensive or expansive. I'm sure this dwelling was very expensive.
I believe the Rothschild Family made their fortune in Banking. For sure, their wealth is unimaginable. The property was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1957. The Rothschild Family continue to play an important position in the Foundation that oversees the management, restoration and archives of this great house.
Visiting places such as Waddesdon is proof of the energy and ambition of leaders in Victorian Britain. The way in which the mansion is being used and managed today is proof of very good work being done in the 21st Century to manage our cultural assets.
A great day out. Thank You to Leslie and Nigel for taking us to Waddesdon.