Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

Trial by Jury

In 1868 W.S. Gilbert wrote a one-pace illustrated comic piece for ‘Fun’ Magazine. Entitled Trial by Jury, it drew on his experiences as a barrister and satirised the legal system, spoofing a trial over a ‘breach of promise’ arrangement of marriage. When Gilbert was approached by Carl Rosa, composer and opera manager, in the autumn of 1873 to create a … Read More

The Yeomen of the Guard

Samantha PillingHistory, Latest News

Tower of London

The Yeomen of the Guard was one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s darkest and emotionally engaging Savoy operas. The eleventh collaboration was more subdued and, much to Sullivan’s relief, it was human, straight-forward and had no evidence of Gilbert’s usual trademark satire. Set at The Tower of London in the 16th century, The Yeomen of the Guard premiered at The Savoy … Read More

Catuvellauni Tribe and the Dyke

Samantha PillingHistory, Latest News

Roman Helmet

Take a walk around the grounds of Grim’s Dyke and you’ll see what remains of an ancient Dyke running through our woodlands. The Dyke has a long and speculative history. It is said to have originally been built in the 1st Century by the Catuvellauni tribe to defend against the Romans – but that the very people it was built … Read More

W.S. Gilbert’s love of motor cars

Samantha PillingHistory, Latest News

Old Car

In the latter part of 1902, W.S. Gilbert introduced his first American steam motor car to Grimm’s Dyke and Harrow Weald. His love of the motor car was so strong, he converted the stables at Grim’s Dyke into garages to house the collection he subsequently amassed. But being a Justice of the Peace for Middlesex, with a rather dry sense … Read More

W. S. Gilbert and his menagerie of animals

Samantha PillingHistory, Latest News

Robin Red Breast

W. S. Gilbert had spent thirty-five years being a professional writer, so the decision to retire was a hard one for him. However, retiring allowed him to enjoy the prestige and wealth he’d worked hard to achieve, and this left him free to spend his time at Grim’s Dyke, surrounded by his family and friends. It also gave himself, Lucy … Read More

W. S. Gilbert and the lemurs in his life

Samantha PillingHistory, Latest News

Lemurs

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, most known for his ‘Savoy Operas’ in Victorian England, also had a deep love of animals, particularly his various pet lemurs. The English writer, composer, comedian, actor and singer George Grossmith, is stated as once overhearing Gilbert saying “Deer-stalking would be a very fine sport – if only the deer had guns.” The first lemurs of … Read More