As per my previous two posts I recently(ish) visited Croome Court near Worcester – you can read those posts here and here. Now a National Trust property, the Court has had an interesting history; from being the home of the Coventry family since the 16th century (though this version of the house was built in the 18th century), to a school, to having been requisitioned by the RAF for an airfield, and for use as a hotel.
On our visit only two floors were open with much of the building covered in scaffolding and undergoing a fairly exhaustive-sounding renovation. The Court itself was very light and airy, the main features on display being the beautiful ceilings and walls.
Croome was designed by Capability Brown, Robert Adam and James Wyatt, at the behest of the 6th Earl of Coventry in the 18th century. Capability Brown was only just starting out as a landscape gardener, and Croome was to be the blueprint for all of his later works. The house was built on the foundations of the previous house which had stood there in the 1640s and the grounds and house soon gained a reputation for beauty with even George III touring the grounds.
Down in the basement, whilst being quite plain, unadorned rooms, you can see photos from various decades of the building’s history. There was an RAF base nearby at Defford where they tested secret radar systems, and the current visitor’s centre used to be their sick quarters. The Eastern part of the Park was also requisitioned for use as a new airfield whilst the Court also provided a home for Queen Juliana and the rest of the exiled Dutch royal family during the Second World War.
For two decades from the 1950’s it was a Catholic boy’s school and during the 1980’s it was headquarters to the International Society of Krishna Consciousness.
It is a fascinating place set in beautiful grounds, full of surprising history. I look forward to a return visit once all the restoration work has been completed.