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‘To Teenagers, I am History!’ grumbles Private Tutor

July 24, 2013
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Thoughts From The Corner

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.

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Teenager exercising his thumbs

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.

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Part of the original hall amidst the Italian gardens

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.

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Capability Brown’s Italian gardens restored. They lie between the hall and the lake

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Statue of Perseus and Medusa at the head of the lake

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.

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Statue of the 2nd Duke of Sutherland

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Close up of statue of 2nd Duke of Sutherland

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.

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19 Comments
  1. Oh how I wish I lived in an area that truly had a long history timeline. I can’t even begin to fathom how much fun I would have. I’m looking forward to your min-series, and thanks for the shout out!

    • You do ok with what you have. You produce some great images.

      We are very lucky here in the UK though. Our history and scenery (thanks to an abundance of rain!) is wonderful. I’ve spent time in California (S.B., S.F. L.A.) and traveled coast to coast in the U.S. You do have amazing scenery. I guess what you don’t have are our historical buildings.

      I enjoyed your fountains and music. I use Photodex Producer to make videos of my photographs. Here is a video I put together of a countryside park that is five minutes walk from my home if you are interested. The music I paid $20 for so Youtube police can’t touch me!

      • I don’t see the video……:(

        I uploaded a 10-second video of two ducks at a public water fountain. YouTube notified me that the video violated copyright laws. I wrote them back and told them that I took the video personally with my own two hands and eyesight using my Canon 550D camera and that copyrighting two ducks in a public place, at a public water fountain, cannot be copyrighted, nor can the sounds that the two ducks make in that public place, nor can the sounds that the public water fountain make. They unblocked the video.

      • Not sure why you didn’t see the video. Try this: http://www.photodex.com/share/gossamerimages
        It should take you to my video page on the Photodex site. You may be asked to download their presenter for optimum viewing. It doesn’t take long but it is does help with the quality.

        I don’t know if you know about Photodex. It’s a fantastic programme that enables you make your images (and videos) in a video for showing on the TV, web, etc. It has an amazing array of effects for both the transitions and the images. You can put music or even voice-over on. I’ve been using it for 7 or 8 years. I do weddings/celebrations/family history/etc. programmes for clients.

        Youtube have stopped some of my videos because I used copyrighted music but they provided options which I used free of charge.

        They have never complained about my ducks. 🙂

      • I guess you have better ducks…….lol

        I’ll check out Photodex since I’m not familiar with it.

  2. I wish I’d read this before I visited (if you see what I mean) – I missed some things. Looking forward to the next episode – maybe between us we’ll start a new trend. Thank you for the mention – much appreciated.

    • Do old people do new trends or should it be left to those that grunt and ugh?

      • Well, in my admittedly limited experience, old people grunt and ugh too so whose to say? but since I don’t believe either of us grunt and ugh to excess, I say go for the trend setting.

      • Does that mean I can order the turbo-charged zimmer off ebay? Yeah ahhhh!!!

  3. I adore history and photographs, so it’s a win-win situation for me. Since I teach freshmen composition and returning students, I usually have some who remember the cultural references I make. I do attempt to keep up with a few current trends, but I will not, nor will I ever, adhere to watching The Kardashians or other such programs. I’ve enough of doing on my own that I’ve not the time to devote to watching a glamorized version of someone else’s life. Not that I suggest that they don’t offer entertainment for their faithful audiences, but it’s not my cup of tea (and I really like tea).
    Beautiful images and interesting history. I’m also a sucker for ghost stories.

    • Thanks for taking time out to comment. I had to google ‘Kardashians – not sure we get that in England.

      Can’t offer you any ghost stories. Usually the halls of the U.K, such as Trentham, do have ghosts attributed to them but I have never heard of one connected to Trentham. Perhaps I should make one up and spread it via the web!

      • I watch quite a bit of British television (Korean and Japanese as well) via Netflix or Hulu Plus, instead of “reality” television on the normal tv which promotes bad behavior. I’d rather encourage my ability to think and dwell on human behavior, much more fun.

  4. Billie permalink

    As always stunning words Private Teacher. You always have me laughing out loud (or LOL-ing as my niece would write Laughing Out Loud :)).

    And the pictures are fantastic also. I miss having such great estates and gardens in Ireland. There’s a few here (Muckross in County Kerry and Powerscourt in County Wicklow) but I’ve either to discover them by accident or they are simply missing. I’d move to England for its nature and estates and gardens, it must be so beautiful! I’ve only been to England once, to Canterbury, and was impressed as a young teenager already quite interested in history, nature etc..

    • Thanks for your comment. Haven’t heard from you in awhile. Hope all is ok.

      Glad you like my humour. Not everyone’s cup of tea. I did once get ticked off by an American blogger for suggesting that naughty girls should be locked in a dark cellar, preferably with spiders there, as a punishment. 🙂

      I’ve been to few places around the world but I wouldn’t want to live any where else. We are indeed blessed here in England.

      • Billie permalink

        I’ve been mugged of energy by the Irish heatwave that lasted two weeks straight, so I’ve not been blogging or reading that much. Praying for rain, at this stage I am thinking of doing a Maori rain-Haka to get the sky to break into serious sweat and down us with it 🙂

        Always love stopping by and reading your posts though; I have exactly the same kind of humour and yes, not everyone understands it. When you add my stoic face to it, a lot of people I’ve a few bolts loose in my head 😀

        I must visit England more; it’s on my list of things to do before I die, especially the Peak District seems stunning, as do the small villages with cobbled streets. Will move it up a few places on my bucket list 😀

      • The Peak District is wonderful. I have many photos from there. I will put together a post on it as part of my ‘mini series’.

  5. Enjoyed this. Look forward to more. Beautiful gardens! Question: Was the pollution of River Trent cleaned up? Can’t imagine spending all of that money and not addressing the pollution and the resulting bad odors.

    • Yes -eventually.

      This area had a lot of industry: pottery, coal, steel. In the Victorian/Edwardian periods ‘stuff’ was simply dumped in the Trent. Even the Sutherlands, one of Britain’s richest families, couldn’t do anything about it. They offered Trentham Hall to the local council for free but the council didn’t want to take on the cost. An auction took place and much was sold. Yes, they lost a lot of money but they were wealthy beyond our wildest dreams.

      It has a fantastic history. Visited, I believe, by the likes of American presidents, Winston Churchill and ‘any body who was any body’. It is said that during WWII the nation’s gold was brought from London and kept under the ballroom.

      • Thank you so much for the detailed reply. A rich history and perhaps some remaining buried gold too. Fascinating!

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