Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Clumber Lumber


Clumber Park is an ex-Ducal estate of 3,800 acres south east of Worksop in Nottinghamshire. The grand Palladian house, begun in 1760, has gone, leaving no sign of its passing other than that ethereal ghost that such places imprint on the mind. The substantial remains in the park include a two-and-a-half mile double avenue of limes leading down from the impressive Apleyhead Gate, the stables, a walled kitchen garden with the Long Range glasshouse and a Gothic Revival Chapel of 1889. The latter is one of the most impressive of its type. At least on the outside. I found inside deeply depressing, as dark sandstone interiors tend to be. So what captured my imagination most? Not difficult to guess, it's this pair of watering cans in a side room of the glasshouse. Unloved, unnoticed, I may have missed them altogether if a kindly sun hadn't decided to illuminate them just for a brief moment of time as I walked in. Only a few cans, I expect there were once many more. Up until the thirties there were twenty five gardeners toiling amongst the orchards and herbaceous borders or here in the glasshouse. And then it was all considered uneconomic. Pulling the house down in 1938 couldn't have helped.

9 comments:

bikerted said...

We're long overdue a visit here, especially as Clumber is only just up the road. Would have gone this weekend but the call of Papplewick Pumping Station being in steam, coupled to having a season ticket won through.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Lovely shot of the cans. The spirits of old gardeners seem to hover in the background.

Bucks Retronaut said...

Absolutely.

My grandfather had a wonderful tarred timber shed replete with such items.
I can recall the smell 55 years on....A well oiled Atco mower,sun on the dust beneath his bench,a bag of Nuttall`s Mintoes and the tin of John Player`s "No Name" pipe tobacco.

Should be available on prescription.

Jon Dudley said...

More galvanalia! A perfect shot of the watering cans. Where are their brass 'roses'...did you have them away?

I love Mr.Retronaut's evocation of sheds gone by.

Peter Ashley said...

Couldn't find the brass roses anywhere. But I did discover double white levers for opening the lower windows of the glasshouse. With the embossed letters of the manufacturer's name filled-up with decades of white paint.

Bucks Retronaut said...

Many thanks JD.

Just trying to follow in your wheel tracks !

DC said...

Childhood smells of grandpa's summer shed: oh, yes: the dark green Atco glistening with machine-oil, new mown grass on the blades; the fishing creel with the lingering odour of the bait-box; the muddy Severn flowing at the bottom of the steps down the riverbank); the various dampnesses of the Edwardian holiday bungalow that my grandparents owned (the canvas of the folding beds; the gut of the tennis racquets; the musty interior of the sideboard) and, above all, the fragrance of St Bruno Ready-Rubbed perfuming the air. There was just such a can in that shed, too.

Diplomate said...

- hand-me-down edwardian furniture for storage of jam jars and Players tins full of screws, nails, hinges etc - unfortunately the damp would render the drawers un-openable.

Ed Isaacs said...

A few years back, I tried to visit Clumber church during the off-peak season. The National Trust sign said 'closed until May for conservation reasons'. 'Bloody hell, I thought, every other church in the country is open all the year round, what makes National Trust churches so special?'

Next stop was Worksop, where I found the priory locked. I bumped into a nice old bloke, though, who had the keys and let me in to have a look round. "We have to keep it locked round here" he said, looking suspiciously at the local Worksop youths lurking close by. I mused on the fact that Worksop Priory had been around since 1100 and survived three civil wars, a regicide and republic,various peasant revolts and enthusiastic Victorians - surely it could survive a few spotty chavs?