Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Derbyshire, part 2

Sunday, went to Sudbury Hall, a National Trust property which was used as the location for the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

They also have the Museum of Childhood, which was excellent - 'Mr John' herded us all into the Victorian classroom and told us about what it was like - backstretchers for those who fell asleep (board placed behind your back; your arms hooked back over two thin projections), the cane for boys, a metal rulefor back of girl's hand (thin end used - rendered hand useless for rest of life) and fidgetfingers (board with fingerholes, one for each hand and then tied together behind your back). Unbelievably harsh. We then had a go at writing a copperplate alphabet on a slate. All the adults were lambasted for being hopeless!

Sudbury Hall itself was pretty, and small enough that you could imagine living there. I particularly liked the overflow library, with its narrow wrought iron spiral staircase.

From there, we went to Tutbury Castle, which is Norman in origin. (This is the Great Tower.)

The castle belonged to John of Gaunt in the 14th century; he introduced the Minstrels' Fair which carried on to the 17th century. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here several times. The castle was slighted after the Civil War and fell into ruin.

The view from the great tower is pretty spectacular (this is the rest of the castle grounds)

and we were delighted to see a reenactment group there - we watched a medieval sword fight and son had a go at archery. I was especially pleased to talk to one lady about 15th century costume. (OK, so I sneaked in a tiny bit of work while on holiday, but I happen to be interested in the subject and this was too good an opportunity to pass up.)

Then dinner out in Burton. We came home to another gorgeous sunset; the sun was actually blood red, but sadly the camera shows it as white.

On Monday, we went to the Heights of Abraham, in Matlock. The cable car ride is 1/3 of a mile and climbs over four towers to 169m. (This is a pic of the cable cars from the top.)

We went into the Masson show cave, with a light show ranging from a single miners' candle to a multi-coloured show. Then we had lunch and saw a very funny Punch and Judy show.

Then we went into the Great Rutland Cavern Nestus mine - a 17th century lead mine, though it's thought that the Romans worked the mine.

The cable car ride down was scarier - it's on a continuous loop and stops halfway so people at the ends can get on and off. And the wind was stronger on the way back...


Nicolette said...

I went to Tutbury Castle in 1997 and you're right, the view from the top is worth the climb! And the Heights of Abraham are well worth a trip alone! (Mind you the gift shop at the top cost me a pretty penny!) Did you go to Bakewell, too? There are some amazing villages around there and for an architecture buff, like you, I'm sure you would have found plenty to see.

Kate Hardy said...

Nicolette - ah, yes. The gift shop with the pretty necklaces. 'Ooh look, it's a PINK necklace and it's my birth stone,' from one; 'It's a REAL T-rex claw - I need this, I really need it,' from the other.

Yes, we went to Bakewell. For pudding :o) You're right about how lovely the villages are.

Jan Jones said...

I could never work out whether it was better to go to the gift shop at the beginning of trips (on the grounds that it would stop the nagging right away) or at the end (on the grounds that it was the only carrot in the nosebag). They do grow out of it. Eventually.