Upstairs, Downstairs Part 1


The year is 1812, Thomas Noel Hill, 2nd Lord Berwick of Attingham, aged 42, has brought his new wife Sophia Dubochet, a courtesan, aged 18, to his stately home Attingham Park in Shropshire.

Attingham Hall

Like many large houses of the time there was a fashionable distinct split of the state rooms into male and female sides. In part 1 of Upstairs Downstairs I’ll show you how Thomas and his wife Sophia lived, followed by part 2 later this week, looking at life below stairs in the servants quarters and kitchens.

So lets begin with the lady of the house and her boudoir.

Attingham Hall - Boudior

The room is circular in shape, even the doors are cut and shaped so that they fit the round walls. Look at the bottom of the door on the left hand side, you can see the curve. The lady you see, dressed in period costume, is one of the many volunteer guides who help out at Attingham Hall.

Next to the Boudoir lies the Sultana Room. The room takes it name from the sofa or “sultane” which you can see in the alcove.

Attingham Hall - Sultana Room

The final room from the lady’s side of the house is the Drawing-Room which is situated between the Sultana Room and the Dining Room. Interestingly there are no State Bedrooms to view on the upper floor, at Attingham. The ground floor does have a huge collection of Regency furniture, paintings, textiles, porcelain and silver as you can see from the photographs in this post. Unfortunately, Thomas and his wife Sophia spent nearly all of the family fortune and ended up being bankrupt in 1827. The bankruptcy sale lasted 16 days and two years later there was a further sale.

In later years the 3rd Lord Berwick, who became Britain’s Ambassador to Italy, managed to re-furnish the house with French and Italian pieces which he acquired during his time as Ambassador. Much later the 8th Lord and his wife, who had no heirs, added to the collection before securing Attingham’s future with the National Trust.

Attingham Hall - Drawing Room

The Dining Room was more of a male preserve. After dinner the men would stay here drinking port and talking, whilst the ladies retired to the Drawing Room or the Sultana Room. As an aside. this room was so dark, illuminated only by those artificial candles, it was hard to photograph because I wasn’t allowed to use a tripod. But the Olympus Image Stabilisation performed well, allowing me to hand hold the camera at very slow shutter speeds.

Attingham Hall - Dining Room

Next door to the Dining Room is the Library. Just look at the furnishings and compare them to the Drawing Room.

Attingham Park - Inner Library

From the Library we pass through another small room, also was being used a library, and from there we reach the Octagonal Room, used as a study by the 2nd Lord Berwick.

The Octagonal Room

The last room I would like to show you from the Upstairs Tour is the Picture Gallery, or at least, one end of it.

Attingham Hall - Picture Gallery

Now you might be thinking “what has this got to do with this weeks challenge”. Think of it from the servants point of view. Wouldn’t you wish to live in opulence like this?

Each week I like to visit other bloggers and see what they are saying about this weeks challenge. If I find the subject interesting or I like the photographs then I’ll always leave at least a like. Here’s some that might be of interest to you.

Precious wish – Lipstick & Miracles
Weekly Photo Challenge- Wish – Novice Photographer
This is Another Story The Wishing Tree
J9 Pictures Life WPC – Wish
The Difference Between Wishing and Making It Happen – Nes Felicio Photography
Half a photograph Wishes and Wells
Getting the Picture Weekly Photo Challenge – Wish
WPC-WISH – Clicks ‘ n’ Arts
Do What You Wish Twinkle, twinkle
Alba10 I wish – Weekly Photograph Challenge

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21 comments

  1. petspeopleandlife

    That is one elaborate building. I simply can’t imagine living in all that opulence. Keeping up the Place had to cost a great deal. It’s hard for me to understand how those folks came into all that wealth and then preceded to lose it. Thank goodness the buildings have been preserved. The folks living there had an eye for paintings. I was impressed by the library.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mike Hardisty

      Finally finished the painting and decorating. Many of the families who owned large homes like that no longer do, Yvonne. Death Taxes forced many of them to sell their properties.

      Fortunately here in the UK we have a penchant for visiting these former properties and we have the National Trust who preserve and open them for us to go and view. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

      I have annual membership which allows me to visit as many properties as I like for free.

      Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife

        GB has the right idea about keeping properties in the Nationa Trust. I wish we had things like that here. The government does not help fund any old homes. ( at least not that I know about) Preserving falls to various societies that must procure the money for restoration.

        Like

  2. margaret21

    Hmm. Do you know? I wouldn’t. I always admire and appreciate the beauty to be found in places like this, of course I do. But a comfortably off burgher or yeoman might be more my style. Cosier, comfortable, less grand in scale, more intimacy.In fact I often think I might not have minded being a more high-ranking servant, personally valued by ‘upstairs’: a lady’s maid, the butler, the housekeper. Not the under-scullery maid, definitely not!

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Mike Hardisty

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and I’m sorry about the delay in replying. Never thought about time-travel but it helps that the volunteer guides in this property are dressed in period dress from the Regency times

      Liked by 1 person

      • Madame Zenista

        No worries, Mike. You’re welcome.
        When I meant time travel, it was my imagination with reference to the things and structure that were there when we weren’t; that were touched and lived with by people who are now long gone. (People dressed up, in fact, will snap me out of my reverie!😀)

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  4. Pingback: Upstairs, Downstairs Part 2 | Say It With A Camera