Wimpole is a place not far from Cambridge

Wimpole is a place that was built about 15th century and went through a string of Dukes before one gambled rather too frivolously and got into a spot of bother, selling off the families heirlooms. Its where Rudyard Kipling’s daughter was later to fall in love with the house, buy it and donate it to the National Trust on her death. The thing I found most interesting here was paper and book conservators working on some of the more than ten thousand books in the library.

They discovered a wall leak and are now working through a few hundred that got damp. Page by page. The procedure is pretty simple. They clean the damp staining with water! Here’s a before – the page on the left, and an after shot – the page on the right.

The other very cool thing was a double walled garden which is very rare. The inner walled garden is about an acre at a guess. Large hedging broke it up inside so the ladies of the day could promenade and not have to see the workers. The inner wall was double skinned and had piping so the espaliered fruit trees and plants close never had frosts or the cold to deal with. The outer walled area was more relaxed with orchards and vegetables and wild herbaceous borders to bring the bees and bugs in. Organic and Companion planting at its grandest. These guys even had a mushroom growing room and huge fruit drying and preserving rooms as well as the usual glasshouses etc. probably sustaining the big house and it’s many guests. The farm itself, thousands of acres is still growing rare breeds. It’s a fully working farm. They have three full time gardeners and 80 volunteers! I’m impressed. I could do a lot with 80 volunteers…

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