Many moons ago, we used to sit down and watch Through the Keyhole, to see who’s pad the peculiar Lloyd Grossman would trespass through today. It would invariably be someone rich and famous. If they weren’t famous, there’d be little point. If they weren’t rich, then the homeowner wouldn’t allow it. Times have changed – I suspect TV companies would be more prepared to pay good money to pry at someone who’s fallen on hard times than they once were.
Visiting Britain’s stately homes is a real life chance to be Lloyd Grossman. We visited Kingston Lacy back in March, but were restricted to the gardens. The interior hadn’t opened up for the spring tourist season at the time. But, armed with our National Trust membership cards, we returned recently, to pry through the lives of the inhabitants.
Or, should I say, previous inhabitants. Old mansions and stately homes in the possession of the National Trust seem to fit into two categories. The rescued property and the bequeathed property. All of them were once home to immense wealth. The former type usually lost it quite some time ago, and have an atmosphere of controlled, or even preserved, decay. The latter, not necessarily so. Of course there are many homes that fit outside these categories.
Kingston Lacy is definitely the latter though. The family simply ran out of descendants and did the decent thing – they passed it on to the National Trust. Who have maintained the splendour and opulence of the interior wonderfully. Including the sizeable private Egyptian relic collection. I have added the photos I took of the interior to the original photo albums, on Flickr and Google.