Waddesdon Manor in (of course) Waddesdon is an assault on the senses, first with it’s enormity, then with its opulence. Generally speaking Waddesdon Manor is the equivalent of eating a 20 course meal. The wealth on display was magnificent at the time, and is no less so nearly 150 years later.
Every inch of this grand country manor is dripping with marble and gold, and once it was built it was filled with precious furniture, art and tapestries from around the world. It comes then as no surprise that we would want to show you the side of Waddesdon Manor that is rarely noticed or talked about – the mechanical details. You know, light switches and door nobs and call buttons. It may not be the sexy opulent side of the manor, but it’s a little more understandable from the perspective of any normal person. After all, despite the wealth flaunted at Waddesdon Manor, they still had to turn on a light when it got dark. Or at very least call a servant to do it for them.
Waddesdon Manor Details: Doorknob
Notice the detail on this single doorknob. Now imagine that detail on all the doorknobs at Waddesdon Manor. Now imagine that level of detail on every single inch of your entire home. Now imagine that your home was at least 4 stories tall and had over a hundred rooms and several thousand acres of park and sculpture. Now you have an idea of what Waddesdon Manor is like.
Waddesdon Manor Details: Burglar Alarm
One can only imagine the security detail at Waddesdon Manor in the 1880's. Not only was the manor filled with rare collectable treasures, but the guests themselves were rich and famous and likely carrying their own personal fortunes.
Waddesdon Manor Details: Light Switches
It was reported that Queen Victoria invited herself to Waddesdon Manor (like you do) and was amazed by the modern amenities available - such as electricity. She even insisted that the lights be turned on and off for quite some time, just to marvel at the new invention.
Waddesdon Manor Details: Communications
If your home had dozens of rooms and spotty cell coverage (like they did in 1880) you too would need a system to keep in touch with your guests and servants alike. If you've ever seen Downton Abbey, you'll recognize the elaborate bell system for just this purpose. Waddesdon Manor by all accounts is grander and bigger and more lavish than anything the BBC could cook up!
If you happen to be in the mood for ornate over the top lavish dripping displays of wealth with a side dish of history, Waddesdon Manor should be high on your list. If you want to learn more about the statues you see when approaching Waddesdon Manor, read our post about The Four Continents!