A house has stood on the site of the Palladian mansion in Lydiard Park since the 13th century and until 1943, when it was purchased by Swindon Corporation, had just five owners - the Tregoze, Grandison, Beauchamp and St John families.
During the 500 years of St John occupancy the house has been modernised, remodelled and neglected until following the death of Lady Bolingbroke in 1940 when the trustees of her will put the property on the market.
For more than 70 years the local authority has restored and refurbished the fabric of the building, tracked down and purchased furniture and artefacts that once belonged to the house, including numerous stunning portraits and paintings that now hang on the walls.
In 2005 a £5 million restoration programme saw the parkland and walled garden returned to their former 18th century glory and it looked like the future of Lydiard House and Park was secure...
The Behind Closed Doors series of events continues on Saturday February 20, when Michael Gray will be delivering his fascinating talk Grand Designs.
And on Wednesday February 24 there is a repeat of my Lydiard Ladies portrait tour.
For more details visit the Friends of Lydiard Park website. Please remember that although all the events are free you do need to book by phoning Charlotte Thwaites of 01793 465277.
|Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine|
|Lady Diana Spencer|
|Looking through to the State Bedroom|
|The rear of Lydiard House revealing the interesting different phases of the building|
|Anne Leighton - my favourite Lydiard Lady|
|Hidden door, hidden secrets of the Ladies of Lydiard|