Last night was the first of our Winter Series of Evening Talks, on the topic of “The Past, Present and Future of Court Lodge”. It was a great success! The tickets had all sold out, and everyone seemed to enjoy the talk and also the wine, canapés and socialising afterwards. We had some fantastic help from various people. Thank you to Vika Gallacher who ran the bar for us, and what a slick operation it was too! Thanks also to Katie Whittingham and Julia Cruse who were on the door, and Julia also chaired at the end as there were a few questions. The Chicks that Chop did fabulous canapés (we’ll be using them again!), and Ruby was a charming waitress (although she kept eating the canapés) and the delicious wine was supplied by Laytons (thanks Neill!) And thank you to everyone who came along and made it such a success.
In the presentation I talked a little bit about Ian and I and our backgrounds – the people we were before we came here – and how we came to make the decision to come back from New Zealand and take over the running of Court Lodge. I then did a potted history of Court Lodge from the 12th Century until the Morland family bought it. I talked a bit more about how Court Lodge passed down through the Morland family, linking the names with portraits that hang in the house, and telling a few titbits of family gossip along the way (although there will be a lot more of that in next week’s talk). Then I focused on Court Lodge in the 20th Century, when it underwent major changes, like being divided up into flats, as a result of the social, political and economic context. Many country houses didn’t survive the challenges of the 20th Century, but Court Lodge did. Now, though, it faces a different set of challenges, and needs to adapt to survive them. I then talked about some of our plans for Court Lodge: opening the gardens to the public, opening a cafe, having furnished holiday lets, and becoming a wedding and conference venue.
Now that we’ve got underway, I’m looking forward to the next one!