Middleton Hall - Conservation in Practice

It all began so inauspiciously. Deprived, literally at the very last minute, of our venue at the Library for the scheduled meeting on the 18th March, we benefited from the generosity of Ian James, the Principal of Lichfield College, and his colleagues by re-convening, after a healthy walk, in the former ballroom of the Swan Hotel. It proved to be a setting fit for an enthralling and stimulating talk by Jim Ellis of the Middleton Hall Trust on "Conservation in Practice". So interesting and informative that I took endless notes, which the confines of the Society Newletter do not allow me to repeat. All I can really do is to quote from the authoritative Programme for 1997 of the Trust.

"Middleton Hall" is the former home of Hugh Willoughby, the Tudor explorer, and Francis Willoughby and John Ray, 17th century naturalists. It also has links with Elizabeth I, Lady Jane Gray, Handel and Jane Austen. There are buildings dating from the 13th century, with a restored Great Hall and early 18th century wing; all set in 40 acres of grounds, walled gardens and lakes.

There are members of the Society who are already familiar with Middleton Hall. Indeed the Society arranged an evening visit several years ago. However, there will be many who, like myself, have never been there. Jim Ellis' talk whetted the appetite to put right this omission and probably prompted those who knew the Hall to return. To this end, the Committee is contemplating Middleton hall as the venue for the Society's summer evening outing in June. Light on this matter will be forthcoming in our May Newsletter.

In the immediate future, members might like to know that there is a "Willoughby and Ray Day" at Middleton Hall on Saturday April 19th between 2:00 and 6:30 pm. Tickets are 5.00 per head. If you are interested, I suggest that you phone the Middleton Hall office on 01827-283095 for further details.

Mike Tole
March 1997