Haden Hill House Museum – Birmingham

Haden Hill House Museum

Haden Hill House Museum

Haden Hill House Museum is another delightful museum that is a hidden treasure very close to where I live.  As with the Oak House, it is free to visit, but this one sits in a magnificent park of 55 acres.  I didn’t see much of the parkland as it was raining but I will definitely return for a nice long walk in the summer.

There are two parts to it – an old hall which is probably seventeenth century but was damaged in a fire, and the Victorian house. This is on the right of the photo.




Sculpture in the lake

Sculpture in the lake

This lovely small lake was the only part of the park that I saw.  As it’s between the car park and the house I couldn’t really miss it!

The library

The library

Inside Haden Hill House

The first room that you come across downstairs is the library.  This was described as cosy although I felt that it was very dark.  I think that the curtains were drawn to protect the furnishings from sunlight.  The model of a lady embroidering was very realistic.  In every room I was really impressed by the many activities for children.  It must get packed during the school holidays!

Bed in the servants' quarter

Bed in the servants’ quarter

The servants’ quarters looked really comfortable.  This bed had both mattress and pillows.  There were many Victorian items of clothing displayed around the room.

Treadle sewing machine

Treadle sewing machine

And also a sewing machine!  We didn’t have one of these with a treadle when I was small, but the machine itself looks really similar to the hand operated Singer that we used for many years.

Quilt Inspiration

Floor tiles

Floor tiles

Obviously I was on the lookout for quilt inspiration and these floor tiles will definitely be appearing in a quilt some time in the future.  The overall design was very Victorian and I was particularly impressed with the border tiles.  In one of the rooms there was a huge amount of William Morris design in both the wallpaper and the furnishings.  What a treat.

There was one gorgeous stained glass window that would make a great quilt, but my photo looks too shaky for me to display it here.

Scrappy quilt?

Scrappy quilt?

I was delighted to find a quilt on one of the beds.  While we would describe it as a scrappy quilt, this one probably filled the original point of quilts – using up fabric from old clothes to provide warmth.

Wedding dresses

Wedding dresses

They are licensed to hold weddings in Haden Hill House and one room was taken up with wedding outfits through the ages.

These were fascinating.

Overall I was thrilled to have found Haden Hill House Museum and will definitely be returning there.

Coughton Court – Alcester – Photos

Coughton Court

Coughton Court

For my visit to Coughton Court I managed to choose a day that was dry and not too cold.  It’s a National Trust property not far from here.  The Throckmorton family have owned it for hundreds of years – since 1409 in fact.  They were a very powerful family with many ties to the royal family.

Coughton Court is a Grade I listed building, a Tudor house that is brimming over with history.  The grounds are delightful and the interior is packed with treasures.





Outside Coughton Court

Back view of Coughton Court

Back view of Coughton Court

Coming out the back of the building, I couldn’t help feeling that this entrance was just as stunning as the front entrance.  This area must have been very sheltered and a real suntrap.  From here you could access the walled garden which was definitely the largest that I had ever seen.

The lake

The lake

The grounds are extensive and there were newborn lambs in a few paddocks close to the house.

As usually happens in National Trust properties, there were many walks marked out.  One of them led round this delightful lake – lots of daffodils gave a lovely splash of colour to it.

Inside the Catholic church

Inside the Catholic church

The Churches

There are two churches within the grounds.  I couldn’t get near the Protestant church as it was shrouded in scaffolding, but this is the interior of the Catholic church.  Very peaceful and relaxing.

Tapestry

Tapestry

The Interior

The interior of the court is stunning.  There were some beautiful tapestries and I was surprised at how well the colour had lasted on these.  Sometimes in these old properties the tapestries have become very dark with age.

In the bedroom

In the bedroom

Inside one of the bedrooms was a very comfortable looking four poster bed.  That woodwork at the foot of the bed is apparently an adapted set of antique library steps.

Beautiful rugs

Beautiful rugs

This time, the rugs were on the floor, not the tables.  I suppose when you have the sort of wealth that the Throckmorton family had, you have no need to show off your rugs on tables.

Stained glass window

Stained glass window

The Windows

One feature that really stood out for me was the stained glass windows.  I’m sure we’ve all made our own stained glass quilts, but the detail in these windows was way beyond anything that I would attempt!

The custom many centuries ago was to commemorate a wedding with a stained glass window naming the two families.  This particular window celebrated the wedding of a Catesby with a Throckmorton.  If you’re familiar with the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 you’ll know that Robert Catesby was the ringleader of the plot.  In fact Coughton Court was one of the escape venues for the plotters.  This surprised me because I’d always assumed that everything happened in London, but I now know that there was quite a big Midlands involvement.

I had a wonderful day out – a lovely mix of history, pleasant walks and beautiful rooms to view.