The perfect event for budding photographers big and small, join us for a leisurely walk around the beautiful Chorleywood House Estate, led by an experienced grounds guide and professional photographer Pete Stevens: www.creativeempathy.com
You will be working with Pete learning how to take the best pictures on your Smartphone, tablet or digital camera whilst picking up handy tips on basic composition, resolution and how to use natural lighting. You’ll come away with a varied collection of photographs that you can share, and if history is your thing, our guide will also be on hand to tell you more about the house and the grounds too.
This is a free event but because spaces are limited, booking is essential. Call 01923 776611 to book your space or for more information on the activity and accessibility.
Summerhouse opening during Easter 2015 (photo taken by Les Mead)
There has been a house opposite the top of Common Road for hundreds of years, but when Lynda moved into one of the renovated buildings to the side of the current Chorleywood House, she wondered about its history, and put her mind to finding out about it. She looked up records in the library, visited the Rickmansworth Museum and tracked down people who had lived in the house and worked in the grounds. She found old documents and photographs, and with the encouragement of the Friends of Chorleywood House Estate she has created an exhibition in the Summer House near to the main house.
Here you can see the story of the house and its various owners, read about what it was like working there, look at photographs, some dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, when Lady Ela Russell (cousin of the Duke of Bedford) was living there and introducing improvements, such as rebuilding part of the house, developing formal gardens, farm and parkland, even introducing electricity. Also there are details of current activities there, including free tennis courts, a newly established orchard, birds and butterflies to be seen, places to picnic or clamber on tree trunks.
The exhibition opened at Easter and again on the Spring Bank Holiday. Such was its success with around 200 visitors each weekend that it is to be open again at the May Bank Holiday and again during Village Day on 11th July.
Sunday 24 May (12.00 – 5.00pm)
Monday 25 May (12.00 – 5.00pm)
Each summer, the Chorleywood Parish Council organizes Village day on the Common. Many local organizations have a stall there, and we have found a lot of interest in the Estate grounds. The commonest comment is “I didn’t know the estate was there and open to the public”.
These photos were sent to us by Mrs Rosemary Westwood who used to live on the Estate (South Lodge) when she was a little girl. Also shown in the photos are Rosemary’s sister, mother and father. Her father (Mr Simons) was gardener for 35 years and one of his jobs was to cut all the grass!
Whilst we don’t know the dates of the photos, they were probably taken around the early 1940s, and mainly for the family photo album. However, it’s good to see that very little has changed in terms of the surroundings!
Elizabeth Rudd contacted the website with this evocative wartime memory:
I was an evacuee to Chorleywood house at the beginning of the war. I don’t know how long I spent at Chorleywood House, it seemed a long time. I remember a field of daffodils.
I was just seven when I came, my sister three years older. Our Mother came with us to see us settled in. My first memory was walking in the front door to see a long table with slices of bread and jam; of course we were all hungry. The local school was full so we had lessons in the church hall, very cold, and the bottles of milk had ice in them.
Another naughty memory I have, after we had been there awhile, there was an orchard very near – don’t think it belonged to the house. A group of us decided we needed some apples so we decided to go scrumping. I was voted to go over the wall whilst the remainder stood outside to keep watch while I threw some of the delicious apples over to them. I daresay we suffered tummy ache the next day.
I think we were at the house for quite a while (from what I understand most people weren’t happy to have siblings). There was a group of Brownies at the house so we had our meetings in a hut in the grounds. Because we all lived together our uniforms were often mixed up especially hats and at some point I caught ringworm and in those days you had your head shaved – I was devastated.
Eventually we went Catlips Farm, we weren’t happy there and so my mother managed to move us to a Mr & Mrs Walker who lived at Langsett, Chorleywood Bottom. We were very happy there and kept in touch with them after the war. There must have been a big pond or lake on the common because one winter’s day we took the Walker’s dog for a walk and she ran onto the ice and fell in. We were so frightened but eventually we got her out.
When we went to Langsett, their son was still at home so we shared a bedroom with Catherine (how generous was that!). I remember being fascinated watching her brushing her hair 100 times every night. They always made my parents welcome when they came to visit.
The photos below, most likely taken at the top of Pink Chestnut Avenue, show Elizabeth (Betty) with her mother, father and sister.