Although a time when so many members are on holiday we welcomed just under 30 to our August meeting. We could see our speaker looking nervous with an audience of so many ladies. However, we were pleased to meet Mr Bernie Knill who has been a Volunteer at Hughenden Manor for over 5 years.
Like all of these beautiful National Trust houses – on our doorstep – and yet he was able to entertain us with a brief history of the house and grounds and indeed tales of Benjamin Disraeli when he took up residence. He explained that mention of a modest house on the site goes back to 1086 with various changes to a Tudor house in 1738 and then to a Georgian style house and hunting lodge. The Park and grounds were an abundant source of wildlife (deer of various kind, boar and general wildlife were plentiful). Disraeli took up residence in the 1930s when his Parliamentary career took off – he was a very popular host and Queen Victoria visited and stayed at Hughenden on two occasions. He was also very popular with the ladies – I wonder what he would have made of us ?
Bernie continued with a brief “dip” into the further history of Hughenden which came to light only in recent years ! With previously classified information becoming available it has come to light that Hughenden Manor played a large part in the War effort – Danesfield House, Cliveden, Medmenham, RAF Naphill (Strike Command) were also to play key roles. Hughenden Park was responsible for making maps in order for the Air Patrols to make their attacks ! Similarly Bletchley Park’s history with the Enigma Code etc. also became known.
Bernie was a very informative and enjoyable speaker and as he was only able to give us a short insight into Hughenden Manor’s War Effort he has agreed to return in the New Year to enlighten us further !
In Sally’s absence Anne gave out notices (Members were reminded of the Tea Rota for the main September U3A meeting – names were taken previously – please remember !!) Also we all wished Sally a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her soon.