Heritage Open Weekend

Once again in September 2017 the various historical sites, museums etc opened their doors, free of charge, to the public from all over the Midlands and beyond. Iris and I visited two sites this year that we had never been to before namely Croome Court, near Pershore and the Aldridge Transport Museum.

Croome Court is a mid 18th century neo-Palladian mansion surrounded by extensive landscaped parkland at Croome D'Abitot, near Pershore in south Worcestershire, England. The mansion and park were designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown for the 6th Earl of Coventry, and were Brown's first landscape design and first major architectural project. Some of the mansion's rooms were designed by Robert Adam.

The mansion house is owned by Croome Heritage Trust, and is leased to the National Trust which operates it as a tourist attraction. The National Trust owns the surrounding parkland, which is also open to the public.

The foundations and core of Croome Court, including the central chimney stack structure, date back to the early 1640s. Substantial changes to this early house were made by Gilbert Coventry, 4th Earl of Coventry.

On the left is the tower of Croome D'Abitot church, viewed here from the west. The church was built in the 1750s, part of 'Capability' Brown's landscaping of Croome Park for the 6th Earl of Coventry. This church replaced an early church which was situated near Croome Court.

Then on the right is an effigy of the 4th Lord Coventry reaching out to the figure of Faith who used to hold a crown. Unfortunately the crown was lost when the monument was moved from the old church to the new church in the 18th century.

In 1751, George Coventry, the 6th Earl, inherited the estate, along with the existing Jacobean house. He commissioned Lancelot "Capability" Brown, with the assistance of Sanderson Miller, to redesign the house and estate. It was Brown's "first flight into the realms of architecture" and a "rare example of his architectural work", and it is an important and seminal work. It was built between 1751 and 1752, and it and Hagley Hall are considered to be the finest examples of Neo-Palladian architecture in Worcestershire. Notable Neo-Palladian features incorporated into Croome Court include the plain exterior and the corner towers with pyramidal roofs (a feature first used by Inigo Jones in the design of Wilton House in Wiltshire). Robert Adam worked on the interior of the building from 1760 onwards.

The Great Hall and A corner and cornice from another room

Two fireplaces and the communal bath in the boudoir

The house has been visited by George III, as well as Queen Victoria during summers when she was a child, and George V(then Duke of York).

The house was purchased by the Croome Heritage Trust, a registered charity, in October 2007 and it is now managed by the National Trust as a tourist attraction. It opened to the public in September 2009, at which point six of the rooms had restored, costing £400,000, including the Saloon. It was estimated that another £4 million to £4.8 million would be needed to restore the entire building. Fundraising activities for the restoration included a 2011 raffle for a Morgan sports car organised by Lord and Lady Flight. After the restoration is complete, a 999-year lease on the building will be granted to the National Trust. An oral history project to record recollections about Croome was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. As of 2009, the service wing was empty and in need of substantial repair.

Adult admission to the house and grounds is at present £10.90; the park is open from 9am with the house opening between 11am and 4.30pm. Also note the house is a fair walk from the entrance. Although when we were there transport was provided.

The next museum we visited was the Transport Museum at Aldridge. Aston Manor Road Transport Museum is an independent transport museum in Shenstone Drive, Aldridge, Walsall, WS9 8TP. Until December 2011 the Museum occupied the former Birmingham Corporation Tramways' Witton Tram Depot, in the Aston district of Birmingham, England, run by a registered charity. Birmingham City Council decided that from 2012 it would charge the museum rent plus one years back rent, a sum believed to be about £34,000 for two years. Hence the move to Aldridge. There is a small admission charge and the opening times are Tuesdays, Saturday and Sunday all through the year from 10.30am till 4pm, the museum is also open every Bank Holiday Monday.

Outer Circle no 11 and a Single Decker no 27 to Selly Oak

On certain days rides are included on an hourly basis on one of the fleet’s buses at no extra charge.

London Bus from the 1960s and members on the platform

Who remembers these Bundy Clocks and Petrol Pumps

As well as buses, trams etc. the museum also exhibits o variety of other vehicles. In addition, you can see exhibits being restored to their former glory to be shown at a later date, when the space is available.

1954 Austin A40 Ice Cream Van (Reg. No. BJM 567)

Birmingham Cooperative horse drawn bread van

My thanks to Wikipedia for the narrative regarding the article on Croome Court the photographs are yours truly. I hope I have encouraged you to visit next year.

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