Monday 17 January 2011

Bagshot Grange exists in North Yorkshire

One of the funniest radio programmes I have heard is the Museum of Everything. They only ever made three series (see the Wikipedia entry for more details), but one of the running themes was that of Bagshot Grange.

Bagshot is a stately home where the owners had fallen on hard times and have, grudgingly, been force to open it up to the public as a way of accessing funding (there are several references to English Heritage and the National Trust).

Visitors, who are left in no doubt that they are not particularly welcome and beneath her, are taken on tours of the building by the Lady of the house.

Whilst the experience today didn’t include a tour by the lady of the house my experience of visiting a certain North Yorkshire castle left the distinct impression that the only reason the public are being let in is to raise some extra funds to keep the house.

First sign was the entrance fee. It’s on a par with Dover and Edinburgh Castles, but at those sites there are multiple attractions and a full day’s worth of museums and other attractions on site.

Second sign were the carefully placed signs telling visitors to “stay away from the house”

Third was the total lack of any furniture, interpretation or even poorly designed wax works in the rooms, just one single small description panel which, in most instances, duplicated the information on the guide you are given on the way in.

Fourth was the dampness in the rooms, condensation running down the walls and the windows. At one point a selection of bins had been placed in the middle of the room to collect the small waterfall that was dribbling from the top of the ceiling.

Reading every panel in full, taking in every nuance from the hand-out, and stopping to take lots of pictures, I was still round and out in little over 30 minutes.

I’ve spent longer looking round the bare ruins of a small castle which English Heritage don’t even bother to charge for.

Now, where in North Yorkshire is Badgerland…

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