Hanbury Hall is a red brick 18th Century stately home a few miles away from Droitwich Spa and the M5 Motorway in Worcestershire. Having driven past on the motorway many times whilst travelling to and from Cardiff, I finally got to visit the house in August and once again in November 2016. On my second visit, I was hoping to see the house decorated for Mr Vernon’s Grand Christmas though unfortunately the house wasn’t ready in time, I also found that over the winter 2016 period the upstairs of Hanbury Hall is closed for deep cleaning meaning only the ground floor is accessible to visitors. Despite this I was greeted warmly and chatted with some of the friendliest NT volunteer’s I’ve met and who no doubt had to deal with a number of disgruntled visitors as a result of the delay in decorating for Christmas.
A little History
Hanbury Hall was built during the reign of Queen Anne; completed 1710 for Thomas Vernon, a successful lawyer from London who yearned for a country home befitting his wealth and stature. After completing Hanbury Hall, Thomas Vernon lived there only 11 years before his death in 1721 after which the estate fell to Bowater Vernon, the son of Thomas’s cousin. The estate passed into the hands of several generations of the Vernon family, through times of prosperity and financial difficulty but has managed to survive largely unchanged from the original design, and was taken over by the National Trust in 1953.
Entering Hanbury Hall, you pass through the main entrance into the grand Hall, its a large imposing room full of dark wood panelling and a dark painted ceiling, with a staircase surrounded by painted by James Thornhill depicting Achilles of Greek Mythology during the Trojan War.
Due its size the room was once used as a dining room for grand occasions, however now only a small table with lovely upholstered chairs and a piano. During the Christmas period a large tree is placed in this room.
Taking the first door to the left when entering the Hall, you enter the Sitting Room.
The Sitting Room
The Sitting Room at Hanbury has had many different guises over the years, from a Lady’s Parlour, Withdrawing Room and as a Library in the 20th Century. It is a nice bright and comfortable room full of Vernon family photos from the last generation of the family prior to the National Trust’s ownership.
The Drawing Room
Located at the other end of the Hall from the Sitting Room is the Drawing Room, which is one of my favourite rooms at Hanbury Hall, mostly due to the way it is decorated and also if any of you have read my previous posts you will have noticed my appreciation for a good chandelier. What I love most about this room is the green flock wallpaper which you can see below.
Behind the Drawing Room is the Dining Room.
The Dining Room
The Dining Room at Hanbury Hall is another impressive room, decorated with yellow and gold silk wallpaper which would reflect light back into the room when lit by candlelight. It is furnished with a Rococo chimneypiece and a large mahogany dining table with eighteen chairs. It is also decorated with portraits of many Vernon family members including Thomas Vernon and his wife Mary, the original owners of Hanbury.
The final ground floor room you can view at Hanbury is the Smoking Room.
The Smoking Room
The Smoking Room was used as an office by Thomas Vernon, where he would deal with the management of the estate during his stays at Hanbury. As a prominent and successful lawyer, Thomas had a second office in the Long Gallery, located in a separate building in the gardens, a rarity in British Country Houses were long galleries were typically part of the main house. From the Long Gallery and his office there, Thomas would conduct legal consultations with clients in private, away from the hustle and bustle of the main house and it’s occupants.
Having viewed all of the downstairs rooms, you can head up the Grand Staircase to access the upstairs rooms.
The Blue Bedroom
The first of the upstairs rooms you access is the Blue Room, named for it’s previous blue decor, today the room is depicted without it’s blue decor but retains some blue in the bed’s canopy.
The Blue Room has quite a sad recent history, as it was in this room that George Hamilton, the last owner of the estate before the National Trust took ownership, committed suicide in this room following a diagnosis of a terminal illness.
The upstairs has two other bedrooms you can access;
The Hercules Bedroom
The Hercules Bedroom is named for a figure of Hercules above the chimneypiece, it is large room with dark reddish coloured wooden panelling.
The Cedar Bedroom
The Cedar Bedroom was once the bedroom of Lady Georgina wife of Sir Harry Vernon following their marriage in 1861, located over the Drawing Room it offers a nice view of the forecourt and surrounding grounds.
The Nursery and Governess’s Day Room
Other Rooms on the first floor are the Nursery and Day Room, depicted as they would have been during the 19th Century, where children of the Vernon family and their Governess would spend most of their time.
The following images are photos of other interesting aspects of Hanbury Hall;
The first floor corridors are decorated with gothic wallpaper, hung in 1991 to match wallpaper from the 1930s.
- https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hanbury-hall-and-gardens – Hanbury Hall NT Website
- http://www.nationaltrustimages.org.uk/search?term=Hanbury+Hall&filters= – Hanbury Hall on NT Images Website