VISIT TO CLANDON PARK, GUILDFORD, SURREY on July 10th 2014
By Caroline Young
Clandon Park, was rebuilt in the 1720’s to replace an earlier house, at the request of the 2nd Lord Onslow, following his marriage to a wealthy American heiress. After a period of neglect the house was revived in the late 19th century by the 4th Earl and remained the family home until 1956 when it was given to the National Trust. In the 1960’s the Trust was given a large bequest by a Mrs Gubby, with the stipulation it was to be kept within easy reach of her home in Surrey. Clandon was the perfect place and so was refurbished in 1968 by the interior designer, John Fowler. A large part of the bequest is porcelain and this, plus other porcelain including a Meissen Monkey Orchestra, is displayed around the house. The 4th Earl of Onslow was the Governor of New Zealand and he brought back with him a Hinemihi, a Maori meeting house, the only one in the UK. This is in the gardens and plans are afoot to refurbish it.
During the First World War Clandon was a military hospital, caring for over 5,000 patients. Many left behind amusing drawings and messages which are on show in the former operating theatre. There is also an excellent museum detailing Surrey’s military history.
We were met by a guide who gave us a very informative and amusing talk about the Onslow family and the history of the house. With beautiful weather and an excellent lunch, this all added up to a superb day out.