13.09.2022, 00:00 A.M.
We have a unique opportunity to visit Chevening, the fine C17th house that serves as the unofficial country house of the Foreign Secretary of the day. It is only open occasionally by special arrangement to groups like ours. We have been on the waiting list since 2019!
Chevening was built in an Inigo Jones style between 1615 and 1630 for the 13th Lord Dacre. In 1717 it was bought by the 1st Earl Stanhope, who added the pavilions and quadrants (by Thomas Fort, a Wren protégé). The house was remodelled by Wyatt for the Stanhopes in late C18th and restored to its mid-C18th form by Donald Insall Associates for the trustees in the 1970s. There is fine entrance hall with a notable swirling staircase, and art collected by the Earls and Countesses of Stanhope over 250 years, including rare Berlin tapestries and portraits by Lawrence and others. The house sits in a good park with wonderful gardens.
The 7th Earl Stanhope, a pre-war Conservative politician, had no direct heirs and on his death in 1967 left the house and 3000 acre estate to a trust. The trust provisions specify that the house should be used by a nominee of the Prime Minister or a member of the Royal Family. Prince Charles turned the house down and since 1980 the house has been traditionally used by the Foreign Secretary. There may be a new occupant by the time of our visit! (We are warned that in the very unlikely event of the house being needed for official business our visit would be cancelled).
Our tour will start at 2pm. After a very full tour of the house we finish with tea, with sandwiches and cake, in the Drawing Room. We leave at 4.30pm.
Travel: we are not arranging a coach from London. For members not driving, there are regular trains to Sevenoaks (35 minutes from Charing Cross) which is a 10 minute taxi ride from Chevening. We will co-ordinate times so members coming by train can share taxis.
Lunch: we are also arranging a 2 course lunch at 12.30pm for those who want it at the Bricklayers Arms, a traditional village pub in Chipstead, a mile from Chevening.
Including lunch: £65 for members, £70 non-members
Not including lunch: £40 for members, £45 for non-members.
Cost to include tour of house, afternoon tea, and (if applicable) lunch, but not drinks at lunch or taxis for those arriving by train. Guests are welcome but we are limited to 25 people so we will give priority to members if we are over-subscribed.
Note we are not arranging a second house but if you want to make a day of it we can recommend a number of good houses open in the morning, all within 30 minutes’ drive of Chevening.
Booking and payment (by Friday 2 September please)
Either by bank transfer:
Irish Georgian Society London
Bank: Nat West
Sort code: 60-05-14
Account number: 18252672
Please also notify Robert Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, the name of any guests and your car number plate if coming by car. Please also advise any dietary requirements if you are coming for lunch.
Or by cheque
Cheque payable to Irish Georgian Society London.
Send to Robert Jennings, 28 Elmfield Road, London SW17 8AL.
Please include the name of any guests and your car number plate if coming by car. Please also advise any dietary requirements if you are coming for lunch.
Any queries: to Robert Jennings on 07740 460518.