Sally got up VERY early this morning and went with her dad for a walk with their chocolate labrador, Libbee. I have to confess that i was still fast asleep when this happened, but that is not too surprising considering the early hour involved!
The weather as a little overcast, but rain seemed unlikely, so we finally went to Kedleston Hall, which is a National Trust property a few miles from where Ron & Beryl live. If you have seen the film "The Duchess", you will have seen the house as it was used in the filming of that.
We were very lucky to be able to take part in a pre-opening talk by two of the NT volunteers about the history of the house and the family who built it. This was a really interesting talk, and you could tell the they were really enthusiastic about the subject and obviously love their work at the Hall.
This was noticeable with all of the volunteers we encountered - quite often at NT properties they seem almost as though their job it to guard the places and make sure that you don't pinch anything - these were all keen to talk to you and tell you about things, explain the reasons behind some of the features, tell you stories about their history - they made the whole visit so much more interesting we thought.
Some of the rooms were stunning - both in size and decor. It turns out that the majority of the Hall was simply designed and built to show off the owners wealth and "culture", which we gather was the done thing in the mid to late 18th Century - it was important to let others know just how rich and cultured you were, even if you didn't really like the results. ( you do wonder if things have actually changed that much!!)
This photo is of the so called "Marble Hall" - in fact the vast columns are actually made from alabaster, and were originally installed as smooth round ones - the house owner wanted them fluted, and they were fluted in situ! There is over 2 miles of fluting on the columns in this room.
This next photo shows the detail in the tops of the columns.
This next room was converted into a ballroom some years after it was originally made, and was used in the film The Duchess. The photo cannot convey the sheer scale of the domed ceiling.
This next room is the "withdrawing room", where the ladies of the house went after dinner while the men continued drinking and smoking.
These final two photos are of some of the images within the domed room. They look as though they are in 3D, but in fact the images are totally flat.
All in all, we thought it was one of the best and most interesting of the NT properties we have visited - if you are ever in the Derby area, it is well worth a visit.