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Steve Orme

Lost Houses of Repton Park

Sir Vauncey Harpur-Crewe of Calke, 10th Bt. was a true eccentric; unpredictable, obsessive and solitary. One of his pastimes was the catching of specimens various types of fauna and having them stuffed, mounted and parked in the great saloon at Calke Abbey. Smaller creatures, including butterflies he dried and pinned to boards. One summer morning […]

Kedleston Hall

Before Kedleston Hall reopened this year, Brian Spencer went along to look at the conservation work carried out over the winter by its present owners, the National Trust. In the mid 1700s Sir Nathaniel Curzon employed the up and coming young architect Robert Adam to design and build Kedleston Hall, his first major commission.  What […]

Darley House

It never ceases to surprise me the number of really very substantial houses that once existed within the boundaries of the present City of Derby. Most of them have already appeared on these pages, but Darley House has so far escaped being chronicled. Although no great shakes aesthetically, it has a triple importance: first that […]

No Turkey and Very Little Tinsel

No Turkey and Very Little Tinsel with Abigail and Barney Brian Spencer braves the winter storms on the Lancashire coast. When Sheila suggested we try Blackpool out of season by joining a turkey and tinsel trip, I thought ‘why not? At least we can fit in some bracing walks along the promenade and maybe take […]

Dining Out at The Sanam

Cooking in a traditional Bangladeshi way has always been the ethos at the Sanam, on King Street Alfreton.  Their philosophy of providing quality food at a fair price has stood the test of time and they are immensely proud of their track record.  The Sanam offers a mouth-watering tasty menu. Whilst enjoying our popadoms and […]

Dining at Izaak Walton Hotel

I’ve just finished reading C.S. Quinn’s, historical novels centered around her resourceful character Charlie Tuesday. Both stories are set in London in the mid-17th Century; a turbulent time. The English Civil War had lasted 9 years (1642 – 1651). This was followed by Cromwell’s Commonwealth and then the Restoration of the Monarchy (1660). The first […]

The Work of Augustus Oakley Deacon

It is not often one sees landscapes by Augustus Oakley Deacon, but I well recall attending the sale of Chase Cliffe House, Crich, in July 1997 at which a number of his generally fairly large canvasses were on offer. I was particularly struck by an oil, The Campsie Hills from Lenzie which was 51 by […]

Around Poole Harbour

Travellers to Cherbourg and the Channel Islands will no doubt, be aware of the ferry service from Poole.  This alternative route starts from the wide expanse of Poole Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world.  Unfortunately unlike Sydney Harbour the depth of water prevents Poole from handling a greater volume of traffic. It […]

Lost Houses – Snelston Hall

Snelston was the most ambitious Gothic house in Derbyshire, renowned for its splendour, but also one of the more short-lived Derbyshire seats. The history of Snelston prior to 1813, when the builder of this prodigy house came on the scene, is excessively convoluted. In essence, there had been three separate manorial estates at the time […]

Lost Houses – Exeter House, Derby

In the early 17th century, the West bank of the Derwent was becoming very sought after for gardens and suddenly Full Street and Cockpit Hill became fashionable places to live. Exeter House, No. 1, Full Street, was the house occupied for three days and two nights by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745. Derby has had […]