December 15th 2011
Christmas Time At Attingham
Those of you who have visited Attingham over the last couple of weeks will hopefully have enjoyed viewing the mansion in its current festive layout and theme of a 1920s Christmas. However, despite there being thousands of photos in the archive collection at Attingham, there is little photographic evidence for such celebrations within the house.
Shown below is one of the few Christmas photos that we have in the collection. Taken sometime between 1914 and 1918, when the house was in use as a field hospital for injured World War One military personnel, the photo shows the Christmas tree and festive decorations in the Outer Library.
Other evidence of celebration includes copies of Christmas cards sent by both the 8th Lord and Lady Berwick. If the 1938 versions of their Christmas cards (shown below) are anything to go by, then these were never really that festive! It is also interesting to note that although the cards include greetings from both Lord and Lady Berwick, there doesn’t appear to be a version that shows a photo of them together.
Festive Greetings from Famous Friends
The archive also includes Christmas cards and greetings sent to the Berwicks from some of their friends and contacts, with these generally being of the same austere design as the Berwick’s own cards.
Below is the card and festive greetings sent by Lord William and Lady Mary Beauchamp and their family in 1927.
[William Lygon, the 7th Earl Beauchamp, has a fascinating history and is well worth learning more about].
A number of cards were also sent from the 1920’s onwards by Alec and Barbara McCorquodale and the 1930 version is shown below. Barbara McCorquodale was of course better known as the romantic novelist Barbara Cartland and the Christmas card shows her holding her daughter Raine, who was Lady Berwick’s god-daughter and who eventually became Countess Spencer, stepmother to Princess Diana.
Evidence suggests that Lady Berwick was not overly keen on Barbara. In a letter to her mother in May 1931 she writes…
‘We have just come back from lunch at the McCorquodales – not social as usual for Barbara was there and that always spoils the atmosphere!’
It’s not known if the Berwicks and the McCorquodales ever spent Christmas Day together, but if they did it sounds like it might have been interesting!
Have a happy Christmas all.
I have been off on holiday for the last two weeks so I promise more regular posts from now on!