"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Blakesley Hall

Blakesley Hall, Yardley, Birmingham built c. 1590 by Richard (II) Smallbroke - one of Birmingham's leading merchants. The Hall was built in what was then a rural parish

I haven't been to Blakesley Hall (a fine timber framed Tudor Hall) since I took the children when they were little so I decided to pay it a visit last week. The hall and gardens have undergone a restoration since I was last there and there is now a visitor centre and car park etc.

Eighteenth century sundial and herb garden

I'm not sure if I like the sepia photo but I quite like the black and white.

Apart from in the Painted Chamber, flash photography is allowed but I found I got better results from using aperture priority and ISO 800 although the speed was very slow so the photos from inside are not very sharp. However, hopefully, they'll give you an idea of some of the rooms!

The Boulting Room where flour was stored and bread dough made

Cider Press in the Buttery

The kitchen was added to the Hall c 1650 - prior to this cooking would have been done in a separate building

The Hall - the table has been dated to around 1620 and is believed to be the same one that was listed in the 1684 inventory of the house and contents

The Great Parlour - used for dining and entertaining

The painted wall hangings show the Old Testament story of Joseph and his brothers and are based on seventeenth century painted hangings at Owlpen Manor in Gloucestershire

The Painted Chamber - the wall paintings date back to when the Hall was originally built. They were plastered over at the end of the seventeenth century and remained hidden until the 1950's and were discovered by chance when repairs took place to repair bomb damage from the 1940's.

The paintings would originally have covered all the walls, timbers and possibly the ceiling. Motifs include lilies, pomegranates and centaurs.

One of the rooms contained artefacts in display cases that had mainly been found in the house and grounds. I was fascinated by this clay pipe found in a rubbish chute as my great great great great grandfather, Noah (c.1770 - 1829), was a pipemaker of great distinction at Broseley, Shropshire. He specialised in the so-called "long pipes" (churchwardens and London straws) and supplied many of the London clubs and coffee houses. There is a pipemaking museum in Broseley which I would love to visit - unfortunately when we went to Ironbridge a few years back the museum was closed on the day of our visit!

The mummified cat and bird were a macabre discovery inside a wall at Hey Hall - a fifteenth century house in Tyseley. Objects like this were used to ward off evil spirits.

The Gallery (unusual in a house of this size)

View of the Herb Garden from one of the bedrooms

A mural in the Visitor Centre

I got told off for visiting on my own as Emily said how much she wanted to go back to the Hall. Her first question was - have they still got the magpie in a cage and yes, they have!

Interesting the things that are remembered from a childhood visit!


Pete said...

never heard of that one ! looks interesting. ta for sharing

the B&W works well but you might want to tweak the contrast

Ragged Robin said...

Its quite impressive, Pete. One of the Birmingham Community Museums which seem to come under the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery these days. Aston Hall is another goodie plus Sarehole Mill (near to where JRR Tolkien used to live in Hall Green).

Entrance used to be free (!) so they were good places to take the children in the long summer holidays inbetween more expensive days out :D.

Thanks for the tip re: contrast. I'll give it a try.