Welcome back to an A to Z of discovery with Kiplin Hall and Gardens. Today we explore the letter Q for Queen. Discovering Kiplin’s queenly connections.
The last owner of Kiplin Hall, before it became a charitable trust, was Bridget Talbot, a cousin of Sarah Carpenter who inherited Kiplin from her father, Admiral Carpenter, in 1904. Bridget purchased the hall and all of its contents in 1937 for £5,000 and began a quest to save it for the nation. She was passionate about many things, including history and the preservation of the past. She gathered many of her extended family’s possessions at Kiplin Hall.
In a similar bid to save another historic house, Bridget’s brother, Humphrey Talbot, bought a house called Swakeleys in Middlesex, now North London, in the late 1920’s. Queen Mary visited Swakeleys in 1930. The archives at Kiplin contain a whole album of photographs of the exterior and interior of the house and Queen Mary during her visit. Unable to afford the upkeep Humphrey Talbot had to sell Swakeleys. The Kiplin archives contain a letter to Bridget Talbot, dated 22nd April 1939, from O. F. Morshead, Librarian, Windsor Castle, written on behalf of Queen Mary, expressing her sorrow that Bridget’s brother has had to part with Swakeleys and wishing her success in her efforts to save Kiplin Hall. Many items of furniture from Swakeleys came to Kiplin including a beautiful bench settee from 1775, featuring carved hounds and lions in its decoration. The bench settee is now on display in the Dining Room on the ground floor at Kiplin and often attracts the attention of visitors.
More queenly connections emerge when exploring the collections at Kiplin. An oval box made of agate and bone contains hair from Queen Elizabeth II’s grey horses used during the coronation in 1953, according to the hand written label attached to it. A more formal object is a book of ceremonies to be observed at the Royal Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary at Westminster Abbey, 22nd June 1911.
Historic houses like Kiplin Hall and Gardens tell of the day to day lives of high society and often links to the royals can be found. These snippets and connections tell of the rise and fall of stately homes. The struggle to preserve them and the secrets they hold. Through conversations with Volunteer Room Stewards different gems come to light with each visit to Kiplin. Annual tickets mean visitors can enjoy return trips, finding out more with each conversation. As the summer draws to a close, visitors to Kiplin Hall can also look forward to dining in the company of royals, under the portraits in the Jacobean style wooden panelled tea room, which is set to reopen mid-September. The tea room currently runs a takeaway service, perfect for picnics, following covid restrictions on indoor dining earlier in the year. Keep up to date with goings on at Kiplin Hall and Gardens on our social media.