The Victorian Apiary

Samantha PillingHistory, The Gardens

victorian apiary

One of the more unusual features of any well-to-do Victorian estate was an apiary, and Grim’s Dyke was no exception. W.S. and Lady Gilbert had (along with a vinery, farms and an orchard), an apiary at Grim’s Dyke – but what is an Apiary and why was it so popular? What is an Apiary? An apiary is a bee yard … Read More

The Bab Ballads

Samantha PillingHistory

Old Library Books

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert’s impressive creative output included over 75 plays and libretti, along with numerous stories and poems. These included poems of light verse, that later became known as the ‘Bab Ballads’. The Bab Ballads The Bab Ballads were originally written for the magazine, ‘Fun’. In 1861 ‘Fun’ was launched, under the editorship of H J Byron. Gilbert, looking to supplement his … Read More

How much was W.S. Gilbert financially worth?

Samantha PillingHistory

croquet lawn

W.S. Gilbert was obviously a man of some considerable wealth. He also illustrated his financial prowess, looking to invest his money into property – ensuring he could leave a lasting legacy for both Lady Gilbert and Nancy McIntosh after his death. It was during, what was considered to be the peak years of the Gilbert & Sullivan collaboration, that W.S. … Read More

W.S. Gilbert – Justice of the Peace

Samantha PillingHistory

Scales of Justice

During his early career, William Schwenck Gilbert had a brief career as a barrister. Although his legal practice wasn’t very successful, with only five clients a year, his calling to the bar in 1863, stood him in good stead for his later role, as a Justice of the Peace for Middlesex. W.S. Gilbert as Justice of the Peace for Middlesex … Read More

Top 10 facts about Grim’s Dyke

Samantha PillingHistory, Latest News

Grim’s Dyke Hotel

Originally a country home, Grim’s Dyke has a wide and varied history, not only because of who owned the property over the years, but for who built it and what it subsequently became in later life. It’s one of the few country houses that survived war, recession and demolition – so it’s only fair that we honour that achievement, by … Read More

Victorian Women and Their Hobbies

Samantha PillingHistory

Victorian Women

Victorian women were expected to run the house, manage the servants, be the best possible hostess and raise the children. For the middle-class Victorian woman however, there was also plenty of time free for hobbies and entertainment. Like many Victorian middle-class ladies, Lady Gilbert loved gardening. She designed the 30 acres of ornamental gardens within the grounds of Grim’s Dyke … Read More

Nancy McIntosh: W.S. Gilbert’s unofficially adopted daughter

Samantha PillingHistory

Sunken Garden

Sir William and Lady Lucy Gilbert never had children of their own however they took a shine to Sir William’s latest (and last) protégée, Nancy McIntosh. Nancy became their unofficially adopted daughter, living with them at Grim’s Dyke until Lady Gilbert’s death in 1936. Nancy McIntosh was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1866. Her career as a concert singer began with … Read More

Grim’s Dyke: A house of many influences

Samantha PillingHistory, The Gardens

Grims Dyke

Built in 1870, Grims Dyke was designed by Richard Norman Shaw. Shaw was renowned for blending old and new styles of architecture and Grims Dyke was a testament to this. The design and subsequent build of Grims Dyke, successfully proved his theory that old English architecture was compatible with modern ideas of comfort and style. Grims Dyke was created in … Read More

The Garrick Theatre – W.S. Gilbert’s legacy

Samantha PillingHistory

Garrick Theatre

The Garrick Theatre first opened its doors on 24th April 1889, with an Arthur Wing Pinero play, The Profiligate. Situated on Charing Cross Road, The Garrick was renowned English librettist, dramatist, poet and illustrator W.S. Gilbert’s legacy (as financier for the theatre’s build). Designed by Walter Emden, the theatre nearly didn’t happen, after difficult site planning, due to an underground river being discovered … Read More

W.S. Gilbert – a leading figure for theatrical reform

Samantha PillingHistory

theatrical reform

Drawing of Priscilla German Reed in both the parts she played in an 1857 double bill: the title roles in The Flower-boy and The Scotch Fisher-girl In the 1870’s the theatres of London were full of sexually orientated burlesque shows and badly adapted French operettas. Theatre had fallen into disrepute and wasn’t seen as a suitable place for any underage … Read More