While Penshurst Place was the inspiration fro Elmhurst Hall, the idea for the attics full of undiscovered treasure came from another wonderful house. In English Lord, Ordinary Lady, Josie’s godfather has spent his life travelling and collecting strange and unusual things. I got the idea for this wonderful array of artefacts after a visit to Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire.
The owner of the old manor house was Charles Paget Wade, an architect, artist and poet, born in 1883. He bought Snowshill Manor when it was derelict and restored it to house a collection of assorted objects from all over the globe while he lived in a tiny cottage next door. He inherited a fortune from his family’s sugar company which meant he no longer needed to work, and was truly one of the great British eccentrics.
Unfortunately, I only have a few pictures of Charles Wade's living quarters because visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside the house, but they give you a feel for what the interior of the manor house is like. Photographs I have found of Snowshill on the internet are owned by the National Trust and can be found in their libray here.
It was craftsmanship, not value, that was Wade’s passion for collecting things, and the manor house at Snowshill contains model boats, musical instruments, Chinese and Japanese furniture, armour, toys, dolls’ houses, bicycles, prams, and a hundred things more, all displayed throughout a rambling old house.
What I do have is some pictures of the outside of the manor and some of the strange things Wade hid in his garden…