Are you here to read more about my Adventures in Heritage? Good, because I’ve got lots for you! This week, I finish off press cuttings and work on emergency planning, find out lots about the 5th November 1605 and see some very cute baby birds.
Today I tackled the final leg of the Rootes press cuttings. More Alvis cuttings were on the cards and a book about Peugeot, a company that is still working in Coventry! They had a factory on the Humber Road when I was going to secondary school, but that’s now been replaced by a sprawling housing estate and their R&D department (a little recent history for you).
I was finished with all these by about lunchtime so I made my way down to Conservation to see if they needed any help. I ended up assisting with some emergency planning work, which was actually quite exciting (even if it would have been better suited to my sister in Disaster Management). This included writing grab sheets in case of fire and flood and creating an emergency list template in Excel – thank you Functional Skills ICT!
So, the press cuttings are finally done… time to move onto the next thing! The museum is investigating other avenues in the Rootes project, as there’s still a lot of material to process, but next week I’m getting the chance to volunteer in a totally different department. I’m definitely looking forward to that.
Rachel Reviews… Coughton Court
Thus week I managed to narrow down our visit to two places – Coughton Court or Farnborough Barn. I didn’t really want to choose between the two as they both looked so good. It was mum who put my out of my decision-making misery by pointing out that Farnborough was only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. As it was Thursday, the decision was easily made.
The venue was an easy drive from our house, although we nearly fell at the final hurdle as there was a mix up over the correct entrance into the venue. Entry into the venue was easy enough, but there was a disappointing lack of children’s trails! We started our visit in the cafe (are you beginning to see a pattern here?) which was not only extremely good but extremely fast! We couldn’t have been waiting for any more than 5 minutes which I could barely believe! And it tasted so good!
As our time was limited we decided to check out the house as a priority, despite the lovely weather making it tempting to spend the entire day wandering around the grounds. This turned out to be a very good decision as we spent ages in there. There was just so much to see and find out about. We could even go onto the roof of the tower and check out the amazing view!
But it was when we got to the two Drawing Rooms that we realised what significance this place had. You see, the Throckmorton family who lived at Coughton during the Stuart period were involved in the Gunpowder Plot! There was lots of very interesting history surrounding this event – I mean, did you know that a group of them fled London with the remaining gunpowder, but accidentally managed to blow up the house they were hiding in when it was set alight? Even my mum, who is not the world’s most eager reader, read everything (and later told everyone all about it).
The dining room was set out for breakfast – but not just any breakfast… a champagne breakfast! The volunteers in this area of the house were extremely friendly and were eager to share their knowledge. I walked into three separate rooms where a volunteer was engaging visitors in an intriguing in-depth discussion. There was also a volunteer there specifically to play their grand piano!
After that it was our chance to take a stroll around the gardens. The walled gardens were absolutely huge! Never seen anything like them before. Mingling with the plants were a couple of tasteful sculptures and even a little pond. Out in the orchard there was a family of geese with some extremely cute and fluffy goslings! It was very important for us not to get too close as greylag geese tend to attack intruders in their space, so I got to make good use of the long lens.
There are two churches on the site, one Catholic and one Church of England, and it was interesting to see the differences between the two side-by-side. We also tried to make friends with the Court’s sheep, but without much success.
Our final activity for the day was a riverside walk, one of many available on the site. It was absolutely lovely to stroll through sunlight woodlands and enjoy the tiny bluebells with the sound of a rippling river by your side. It was on this walk that we saw a gorgeous grey heron and as we looped back around the lake we saw some ducks and ducklings, which is always a fabulous way to end the day. We grabbed ourselves an ice cream on the way out but decided that we would definitely be coming back.
Coughton Court was a fabulous day out! There was just so much to see that there was no way we could squish it all into one day. The house was absolutely fabulous and full of so much intriguing knowledge. I’ve now been inspired to get a film made about the Gunpowder Plot. I can’t think of any films about it and it’s such a dramatic historical event that really needs retelling. The grounds were gorgeous and definitely deserve an in-depth exploration. Plus, you can see some very sweet baby birds – what an excellent bonus! If you get a chance to go then I highly recommend it. 5 stars – ★★★★★
Hope you enjoyed reading and I hope you learnt a little bit about the Gunpowder Plot – I mean, it’s really interesting stuff! Let me know if you decide to visit Coughton Court and what you thought of the place.
See more of Rachel’s Coughton Court pictures on Facebook!