Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Gothic Heaven

I generally like courses. There are of course, courses and courses. Some leave you wanting to leave and some leave you wanting more or at the very least, they leave you satisfied, like a favourite ice cream or beautifully cooked roast beef and Yorkshire pudding; If you're a vegetarian you'll have to use your imagination - sorry.

You would imagine Freedom of Information fairly dry and boring but it is actually quite interesting and really very informative and most importantly well delivered and not without a sense of humour. So the first day went well.

The jewel in the crown of this two days is not the course at all but the accommodation: Crewe Hall Hotel in sunny Crewe (the hint being in the name). Except it isn't sunny, it's grey, damp and chill. But in this case it's perfect because the hotel is so dark and gothic it's untrue and the greyness that shrouds the area lends perfectly to an extraordinary atmosphere.

I don't think I've ever seen anything much like this Hall. Originally Jacobean in places, it was built for the Crewe family between 1615 and 1635, but massively rebuilt and designed by Victorian architects (more specific history can be found elsewhere if you want it,) for Hungerford, the 3rd Lord Crewe, this place is the stuff of horror films. The Victorians we know were very clever at design, copying, reproducing, mixing and reinventing styles - some more elaborate than others. This is what they've done here.

Dark woods, oaken panelling, ornate plasterwork, carvings, gargoyles, angelic children, misericords, faces, ceilings to die for, gothic heavy furniture, multi levels - getting lost in the maze of corridors staircases is easy. There are nooks and crannies, heraldry, family crests, leaded windows, tidy symmetrical gardens and the obligatory long drive to the house.

The house has its own consecrated chapel which is so ornate, it's something you would expect to see in a high Catholic church and today, the tiny place of worship is still used for weddings.

From a spiritualist point of view, so far it doesn't seem that active with spirit, but it's very busy with guests and lots of human activity, but last night when I arrived quite late in the evening, it was dark, atmospheric and quite exciting to explore.

I should explain that there are also very modern wings to the place, hidden away andexceptional facilities in this four star hotel and the bedroom I am occupying is brilliant. I can feel the pictures I have taken will go towards accompanying a ghost story perhaps which I haven't written on the blog for over a year.

The Crewe family left in 1922 and like many grand halls of its time, it became an army camp for the British and Americans in WWll and then as a prison camp for German Officers.

Time for a bath and then down for a meal - blimey all this descriptive work has made me hungry.

Chat soon



  1. One of the things I have always loved most about Europe is their keen sense of history and their common goal of not destroying every building in its path every 10 years as we do so often here in the states. Thansk for the tour. Gorgeous

  2. What an amazing and beautiful place to be staying. Walls soak up so much atmosphere of their past and I know that this place has had some very grand visitors throughout its history. I believe it was once the HQ for Wellcome, too, with all the medicines and whatnot being made in laboratories there.Enjoy your stay. x

  3. Hope the food was as good as the accommodation .

  4. Well, go on then, don't leave us in suspense :)

    No offence meant, but often in the pursuit of intellectual endeavours we are so focussed we often forget what freedom is. It's the quietest moments that count.

  5. Hi Donna
    Indeed this hotel chain have looked after this heritage very well indeed - congrats to them.

    Hi Elizabeth
    Oh indeed the atmosphere is delicious, you can feel it. Indeed the history blurb gives details of very grand visitors. There are loads of interesting outbuildings that look like converted stables (but in the grand style) which I guess could have been where the labs were.

    Hi Weaver
    The food was excellent - slightly haute cuisine but classy.

    I would have loved to have sat in one of the many nooks and meditated - what a treat that would have been. Of course you are right that we can forget those freedoms as individuals, but I make sure I get plenty of 'me time'. A little bit more info on the blog tonight I hope.

  6. What a fantastic building, great photo's.

  7. What a beautiful house! It looks wonderful inside. Thank you for sharing the history of the house with us. Good luck with your course

  8. Hi Val
    It certainly is a great place.

    Hi Jarmara
    My pleasure, it's nice to contextualise the history