my Basildon Park day

Filed under: research

Basildon Park Octagon RoomWhat a glorious weekend! I’ve been picnicking and hanging out with friends and haven’t written a word for days.

On Friday I had my day at Basildon Park. It was a perfect day to be there—sunny and warm—and when I arrived the volunteers were having a coffee morning outside in the grounds. I spent the entire day roaming around the house, talking with staff and volunteers, watching visitors and learning about the history of the place.

It was fantastic. I got an insight into the number of staff it takes to run a large house such as this and keep it open to the public. I spoke with the volunteers, who were all from different walks of life and with different interests. The house steward was particularly helpful and told me stories of the odd things that have happened there over the years. He showed me his array of specially-labelled brushes for dusting, opened usually-shut doors for me, and let me watch him lock up.

Basildon Park Drawing RoomI think the best thing for me, though, was the fifteen minutes or so before the house opened to the public, when I could stand in a room and feel it as it would have felt without the visitors tromping through it. The moments where I could look out a window, or across the dining room, and begin to picture what it would be like to live in this place.

I’m feeling very inspired to write…so I’d best get to it!

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  1. Sounds a fab day, Julie.

    I’m looking forward to something similar at Blickling next month (except, sigh, I’m the one doing the talking…)


  2. Ooh you lucky devil,Julie!

    I love those grand old places, but sadly my smallest offspring doesn’t yet have the decorum to make visits feasible (sticky,noisy,clumsy,that sort of thing). But I have to know: what were behind the usually shut doors?!



  3. Sounds fab


  4. Oh, fabby dabby doo. Don’t you just LOVE being a writer?


  5. How cool, Kate, what are you doing?


  6. Rach—there was a cupboard behind shut door, full of rug scraps and paint. Behind the other one, there was a disused cloakroom which used to be the master bedroom, full of all kinds of stuff. And one was the volunteers’ room. The other doors were just different ways into the rooms that were open to the public.

    And there’s one fake door, too!


  7. Sounds like a great day.
    Happy writing.


  8. It sounds amazing, fake door and all! The impact of standing in those rooms would be incredible.


  9. I’m extraordinarily envious!


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