Life of a Victorian writer

Samantha PillingHistory, Latest News

Victorian Writers

The Victorian era has bought us some of the most famous writers in history – Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, the Bronte sisters, W.S. Gilbert, Robert Browning and George Bernard Shaw. These playwrights, poets and authors created works that continued to delight us, long after their deaths – but what was it really like for the Victorian writers? Victorian Literature and Overnight Celebrity It was … Read More

The Victorian British Parlour – A Room with Status

Samantha PillingHistory, Latest News

victorian parlour

When it came to selecting the most ornate room in a Victorian house, chances are it was always going to be the Parlour. It was the only room in a traditional Victorian house that was created predominantly to illustrate your wealth and status in society. And this made it the ideal place to entertain your guests. The word ‘parlour’ originated from the Latin … Read More

Host your own dinner party – the W.S. Gilbert way!

Samantha PillingHistory, Latest News

dinner party

Mrs Beeton’s Dinner table Setting During the Victorian era, Sir William Schwenck Gilbert and his wife, Lucy, hosted some amazing dinner parties at Grim’s Dyke. They were the talking point of local society, not least because the family lemurs often made an appearance! Victorian dinner parties were all about status, refinement and attention to detail – and Lady Gilbert excelled in these areas. If … Read More

Gilbert & Sullivan: after the Savoy Operas

Samantha PillingHistory

savoy operas

The Gilbert & Sullivan collaboration ran from 1871-1896. The duo produced a total of 14 Savoy Operas, but the relationship had reached breaking point, leading them to part company. W.S. Gilbert In the years that followed, Gilbert continued to write, even after he’d announced his retirement from the theatre. Gilbert’s first solo play was in 1897. Entitled ‘The Fortune Hunter’, it unfortunately … Read More

Architecture of the Gothic Revival

Samantha PillingHistory

gothic revival

Originally, the word ‘Gothic’ was used as a derogatory statement, to illustrate architecture that ‘spoiled’ or ‘ruined’ the look of existing buildings – however, it went on to be a massive influence to the architects of the Victorian era, including the likes of Richard Norman Shaw, who went on to design Grim’s Dyke. The Gothic revival of the 18th and 19th Centuries, started in … Read More

Charles II – from Soho to Grim’s Dyke and back again

Samantha PillingHistory

Charles II

Built in the 1670’s, Soho Square was the place to live in London. Originally named King’s Square for King Charles II, it was a highly fashionable place to be and at its centre, was a grand statue of the king. Designed by Danish sculptor Caius Gabriel Cibber, the King Charles II statue formed part of the centrepiece fountain, erected in … Read More

Grim’s Dyke and its historical blue plaque

Samantha PillingHistory

When you stand outside the main entrance at Grim’s Dyke, look to the left and you’ll see a familiar blue plaque. This historical marker usually commemorates the link between the location and a famous person – although in Grim’s Dyke’s case, our historical marker commemorates not one person, but three! In 1976 The Greater London Council issued Grim’s Dyke with … Read More

Grim’s Dyke Architecture: Norman Shaw

Samantha PillingHistory

Architecture

Norman Shaw was commissioned to design a property on the Grime’s Dyke earthworks site, by painter Frederick Goodall in 1872. Known as an urban designer and architect, Shaw played a crucial role in the English Domestic Revival movement. Born in Edinburgh on the 7th May 1831, British architect Shaw worked on both commercial properties and country houses, with styles ranging … Read More

Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘The Gondoliers’

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History, Latest News

Gondoliers

The twelfth savoy opera written by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan was entitled ‘Gondoliers’ (also known as ‘The King of Barataria’). The satire within this opera was firmly focused on two of Gilbert’s fascinations –class distinction and the absurd convergence of natural persons with the legal system. Gilbert avoided major criticism from the British nobility and monarchy, by setting this … Read More