|The Manor, Hemingford Grey: Green Knowe|
|Some of the Green Knowe books|
Green Knowe website which also has details of how to visit. This is the sitting room upstairs, at the heart of the oldest part of the house. The gramophone that you can see still plays, beautifully, with bamboo needles and we listened to part of one of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. During the Second World War, Lucy Boston invited airmen from the nearby RAF base to come and listen to her classical music records. She sent the invitation via the padre on the base and she expected that one or two might like to come. The padre sent word back that a bus would be coming with 36 men! Lucy had to hurriedly construct seating for them all out of mattresses and car seats and these are all still in situ. The men came on Tuesday and Fridays from 1941 onwards. There was a lovely painting in the house by Elisabeth Vellacott of the airmen sitting listening to that giant papier mache horn, and while the music was playing I thought of them going off on missions from the base and perhaps not returning.
Elisabeth Vellacott is a not so well known 20th century artist who lived at the Manor with Lucy Boston during several periods. Many of her pictures and some of her textiles are still in the house. Here's a very interesting account of her life.
The house is overflowing with textiles, including some fantastic patchwork curtains dating from 1801-3. They inspired Lucy Boston to start making patchwork quilts herself, initially during the War when they needed covers for the beds (it's freezing cold there in winter) -- she first made these using teatowels, tablecloths and other utilitarian fabrics. She was a prodigious patchworker and often made one or two quilts each winter. She was very adept at using patterns in her fabrics imaginatively and could get several completely different panels out of one pattern. There was a bed in the house piled high with quilts and we were shown each one in turn -- they just seemed to get more and more interesting.
The gardens were absolutely gorgeous too and afterwards we went for a late lunch at The Cock and that was fab too -- but you need to book. You couldn't ask for a nicer day out and I already want to go back again.