1930s Dreaming

While the 1930s would have been a truly horrible time to be poor, it must have been a wonderful time to be wealthy.

Imagine having servants and motoring to one's country house. Or having a dressmaker or tailor to fit one's clothes. Eating dainty morsels at a long, polished table with footmen to meet one's every whim. Or picnics of ham and tongue sandwiches washed down with lashings of ginger beer. Think Enid Blyton and Evelyn Waugh. Or Agatha Christie with the butler killing the master with the candlestick in the drawing room. Or was that Cluedo?

Earlier this month we had the opportunity to visit and have luncheon (how could one have mere lunch in such a setting?) at Carrick Hill House, on the outskirts of Adelaide.

Carrick House was one of the homes of Edward and Ursula Hayward -- they had numerous properties including a townhouse in Mayfair, London.

"The beautiful Carrick Hill estate was the result of the marriage, in 1935, of
members of two of Adelaide's most prominent families. Edward (Bill) Hayward was a son of the wealthy merchant family that for more than 100 years owned John Martin's Ltd, once Adelaide's greatest department store. His bride, Ursula Barr Smith, was a daughter of an even wealthier family of pastoralists.

Ursula's father gave the couple the land on which Carrick Hill now stands as a wedding present. During their year-long honeymoon they acquired much of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth-century panelling, doors, staircases and windows from the demolition sale of Beaudesert, a Tudor mansion in Staffordshire, England.

A family friend, Adelaide architect, James Irwin, designed the house around these fittings, and while the overall appearance is of a seventeenth-century English manor house, it incorporates all 'the latest' in 1930's technology. Oak panelling and pewter light fittings happily blend with heated towel rails, ensuite bathrooms and intercom systems."

One interesting feature is that the kitchen is next-door to the dining room; a truly 'modern' feature in the 1930s. The maids must have been thrilled not to have to carry steaming dishes up stairs, down long corridors, or into the house from an outside kitchen.

Unfortunately, I was unable to take pictures inside the house as cameras were banned, though there are pictures on the website.

Another delight of Carrick Hill is the children's literary tour through the gardens. All visiting children are given a map and encouraged to find places from their favourite English children's stories.

Some of the sights on the literary tour were a hobbit house,

the bridge from billygoats gruff,

a Narnian lamp post amongst the trees,

Charlotte's web on which to climb (that's my daughter on the web)

and Mrs MacGregor's garden, from Beatrix Potter,

replete with Peter Rabbit.

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