Click here to view previous visits

17 October 2019Stowe House & Waddesdon Manor, Bucks
28 November 2019Dulwich Picture Gallery for Rembrandt Exhibitiono
26 March 2020Colchester and Layer Marney Tower
21 May 2020Faversham and Belmont House & Gardens, Kent
18 June 2020Stratford upon Avon

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Stowe House & Waddesdon Manor, Bucks
Thursday 17 October 2019

Waddesdon Manor    1874–1898
In 1874, Baron Ferdinand bought a farming estate from the Duke of Marlborough with money inherited from his father Anselm. He was familiar with the estate as he had seen it while hunting in the area. There was no existing house, park or garden, only a bare hill that had been stripped of its timber.[3] The foundation stone was laid on 18 August 1877, and the site was quickly transformed.

The first house party was held in May 1880 with seven of Ferdinand's close male friends enjoying a grand fireworks display. When the main house was ready in 1883, Ferdinand invited 20 guests to stay. Before his premature death in 1898, on weekends between May and September Baron Ferdinand played host to many important guests including the future king Edward VII, politicians and members of The Souls group. House parties usually involved 14 to 20 people coming to stay.[4]

Guests commented on the level of luxury service provided by the 24 house staff.[5] In 1890, Queen Victoria unusually requested to pay a visit. She was impressed with the beauty of the house and grounds as well as Ferdinand's ability to quietly manage the day's events. She was struck by the newly installed electric lights, especially designed to look like candles in the chandeliers, and it is reported that she asked for the room to be darkened to fully witness the effect