|Cut hay in front of the hall (done using a scythe)|
|The rear elevation of the hall.|
|This National Trust image shows the book room –
Soane’s elliptical arches can be seen in my photo below.
|Another National Trust image (for some reason, their photos don’t have random
people floating through them) of the library, designed by James Gibbs.
It was completed in 1730.
|The Book Room, which leads into the much larger library.
These arches were added by Sir John Soane.
|Formal dining room (available for your next event!)|
The Earl of Hardwicke bought the property in 1740, and it remained in his family for 150 years. The 3rd Earl of Hardwicke (Phillip) met Sir John Soane on the Grand Tour, and commissioned him to undertake several renovations to the main house as well as design a “model farm” that instituted some of the enlightened agricultural principles championed by the Earl. (The population of England tripled between 1750 and 1850, so some sort of agricultural revolution was needed to feed all of those people)
The “Plunge Bath” at left and right was designed by Soane and installed in an existing courtyard at Wimpole Hall in 1793. It had hot and cold running water, and only required a mere 3,000 gallons to fill. (Hello, indoor pool) Apparently the intent was more to rid one of ill humors and disease rather than as a cleansing, hygienic exercise. The shower pictured at right was an early 19th-century invention filled directly from the bath.
Wimpole Hall has not yet fully restored the “downstairs” but it is likely that will happen as soon as feasible, given the immense popularity of shows like Downton Abbey. (Elsie Bambridge apparently changed many of the rooms in the 1950s) There are a few furnished and interpreted rooms in the basement, including the Dry Store, shown below.
During the 18th century, Wimpole’s Home Farm became known as one of England’s most progressive farming enterprises. Sir John Soane designed the Model Farm to be seen as a visitor progressed through the landscape, and its proximity to the Hall meant that the Earl could keep a watchful eye on his workers and production. (A 21st century innovation emulated the Model Farm roots, as the National Trust, inspired by the success of Facebook’s Farmville, opened up Wimpole Home Farm to the public as MyFarm.)
|Soane’s plan for the Farm complex.|
The Great Barn, the centerpiece of Soane’s courtyard design, dates to1792. It.Is.Awesome. The barn is the only surviving example of a timber frame barn designed by a major English architect from the 18th century.