‘To Teenagers, I am History!’ grumbles Private Tutor
Recently this private tutor was talking to talking to someone from a different era – a teenager!
I don’t profess to understand them. What with all their gadgets, living their lives on the time schedule of an owl and listening to a monotonous-repetitive-continual thumping noise that doesn’t come under my dictionary definition of music, how could I?
Having got past a series of grunts and ‘ughs’ I received a reply, ‘The Cold War’.
‘You studied The Cold War in history!’
That kind of ‘yeah, so what?’ look said it all, as he went back to exercising his thumbs on a plastic box.
I lived through the Cold War and doesn’t really seem to be so long ago - is it history? My idea of school history is to do with kings and queens, particularly those that had six wives and chopped the heads of some of them. To the spotty object glued to the TV screen the cold war was something from another age. It was history. This interchange of near-communication with a teenager set me a-thinkin’. This post will be a history lesson.
NO! NO! Please stay with me. I will include some pictures to make it interesting.
There are two posts I follow that I particularly enjoy. One contains mostly words and one contains mostly photographs. The words blog writeonthebeach tells many wonderful stories about her area (Yorkshire, England) and Russel Ray photos publishes lots of fantastic images of his area San Diego, California.
Taking my inspiration from those two I thought I would start a mini-series (sort of) of places of interest in my area (Staffordshire, England) using both words and images. To start I will have a brief look at Trentham Gardens. Only twenty minutes drive away it is the Downton Abbey of my area.
Those of you not so interested in ‘historical stuff’ may want to simply tune-in to the photographs.
The earliest record of Trentham is in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1153 Henry II created a Royal Deer Park. The land changed hands several times until wool merchant James Leveson purchased it in 1540. The Levesons (later Leveson-Gower) held the land until 1948. The first lake was created from 1746-1748. The landscape designer ‘Capability Brown‘ made many changes to the estate from 1759-1780. The family married into the Sutherlands in 1803. In 1808 the architect Charles Heathcote Tatham completed a new mausoleum. This building is still standing and Stoke-On-Trent’s only Grade I listed building. He also added to the hall itself.
In 1833 George Granville, 2nd Duke of Sutherland, began a £123,000 building programme. His statue is on Monument Hill at the southern end of the lake. It was during this period that the internationally renowned Italian Gardens (between the hall and the lake) were designed and laid out. As the River Trent, which runs through the estate, became increasingly polluted, the stench finally drove the family from the hall.
It was mostly demolished in 1911. Between the two world wars a new ballroom was built with an Art Deco lido outside. In the post war years it became a music venue for the likes of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. After several ‘ups and downs’ it was was purchased in 1996 by St. Modwen Properties PLC and German investor Willi Reitz.
In 2003 a £100 million development plan began. This includes: restoration of the Italian Gardens, woodland and wildlife habitat restored, statue of Perseus restored, garden centre built, two hotels, timber-built retail development, monkey forest, holiday lodges and much more. Today it is a thriving centre for shoppers and visitors.
A little history makes a change for a private tutor. Next time, the Barbary Macaque monkeys in Trentham’s Monkey Forest.