Shugborough Hall


We went for a day out with my brother’s family, including their new baby. The location chosen, in between where we respectively live, was Shugborough Hall: a National Trust property that can be reached by bus from Stafford train station. I’d never heard of it before.

Kitchen garden

The estate contains a large walled kitchen garden, which was once a centre of technological innovation (steam-heated greenhouses). There are no more greenhouses but they do have a robot lawnmower.

House entrance showing line of greenhouse roofs.
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Corner of wall with lines and layers.
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The house

When my brother’s family arrived, we spent a little while in the play area near the kitchen garden. It was quite a good play area, including cannons and a large octopus. After that, and the rather nice picnic lunch they had brought, we began the walk to the actual house.

On the way we passed one of the follies in the grounds - the Tower of the Winds, which hosted at various times an ornamental dairy (for some reason the 19th century aristocracy were into dairy cosplay) and a gambling den. It is now rather empty.

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The best bit of the house was the servants quarters. They had entertaining signs showing what each type of servant would have earned (common factor: not a lot).

Washing bowl.
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Interesting alcove.
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Kitchen taps.
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The house itself was nice, but not particularly unusual.

Large painting (under restoration).
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We then walked around the grounds some more, touring the remaining follies.

The Doric Temple, with authentic Athenian bench.
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The Shepherd’s Monument contains a relief sculpture and a sequence of eight letters which is apparently an unsolved mystery.

Sculpture and mystery sequence.
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Bridge to the Chinese House.
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Chinese House window.
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Bridge spike.
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Dry fountain. (I think the water comes out of the swan’s mouth, not the boy’s naughty bits.)
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Lines of yoghurt-pot trees toward the main house.
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After we said goodbye, R and I found we had a few spare minutes before the bus, so we (mainly me) rushed out to see a final monument, Hadrian’s Arch.

Well, it was mainly just scaffolding.
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Another view.
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All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.