Yesterday we visited Shugborough Hall near Stafford to see what changes had been made over the winter. Although Shugborough Mansion House, Gardens and estate was mostly in the hands of the National Trust, the Park Farm. County Museum and Car park were administered by the Staffordshire County Council. Last year the National Trust took over the whole estate and quite a few changes have already been made. The trust are only five months into their ten year conservation and redevelopment plan so there are many more changes to come.
The car park seems more easily accessible and it is now free, I think it used to cost about £3 to park there, even for NT members. The original reception is now a plant centre and access to the property is through the Park Farm, Mill and Farmhouse which are now free to wander around for NT members, as are the servants' quarters which always had an entry charge as they were accessed through the Museum. There are new pathways around the Park Farm and access is now on the opposite side of the mill pond. There are new little buggies to take you up to the Mansion House where the house, gardens, walks and island arboretum are exactly as they were. In the courtyard the original tea room is closed for refurbishment and it re-opens on 8th April as a restaurant where food is delivered to the table rather than collected from the counter. The nearby shop has been refurbished.
One of the volunteers was talking in the shop and explained that the County Museum would have new a new home and that they had three years to organised the move. I have read elsewhere that the museum's collections will eventually become part of a new Staffordshire History Centre which will be based on the site of Staffordshire Record Office which is in Stafford. The volunteer also mentioned the fact that there had been quite a bit more repair and conservation work to be done than had originally been thought necessary.
We didn't go inside the Mansion House this time but wandered around the gardens and went into the Mill and Farmhouse at the Park Farm and around the Servants' Quarters.
Below are a few more random photos taken of things which caught my eye.
The mill pond through the mill window.
Inside the mill.
I loved this cheese dish which I spotted in the farmhouse, you could get a huge piece of cheese in there.
The main hallway in the farmhouse
The dining room in the farmhouse
One of the place settings in the servants' dining room in the servants' quarters.
In the laundry
Just one of the many kitchen sinks
I must admit I always enjoy mooching around kitchens and other areas which were the hub of the working estate than the grand mansions themselves. Of course I haven't even mentioned the Anson family or Patrick Lichfield whose home this was as I've covered this before in previous posts but here is a - link - to the website to find out more.