Superb Edwardian Interiors that draws, attracts more and more visitors.
The highlights of the heritage has a superb Edwardian Interiors throughout the fabulous building. Polesden Lacy has a regency house that’s been transformed into a superb Edwardian mansion; this was created by brewery heiress Mrs Ronald Greville, along with a glittering array of formal rooms were decorated with fabulous portraits including works by Raeburn and Reynolds.
Back in 1906 Margaret Greville, is one of the foremost society hostesses of Edwardian London Time ere; which had brought the early 19th century house and estate in the Surrey Hills. Which sits to close to Dorking and within easy reach of her London based home. Mrs Greville intended Polesden Lacey to serve as a location for weekend parties; intimate gatherings of an elite circle of friends and acquaintances.
Margaret Greville was the daughter of William McEwan, who made a fortune as a brewer (e.g. McEwan’s Ale). At the time Margaret was illegitimate (meaning she was born out of wedlock at the time; although her father did later marry her mother to which made it more accurate to say that McEwan bought Polesden for his daughter and her husband of whom she married to in 1891. Margaret husband was called Ronald Greville, second son of the 2nd Baron Greville. Ronald died in 1908.
Mrs Greville had combination of her father’s wealth and her husband’s social connections; Mrs Greville had moved around the elite circle of society, to be able to entertain the royals from Edward VII to George VI. By then Mrs Greville been given the name Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1922. To which that she had welcomed the great and the good of London society to her house in Charles Street, Mayfair and delighted in being able to attract movie stars and maharajahs to her parties.
Mrs Greville was a fascinating character. She moved around in the highest social circles, and could be kind and thoughtful, or wickedly acerbic. So many people who met her at the time like Arthur Balfour called her wit ‘honeyed poison’, and others were less complimentary still! Edward VII described her gift for entertaining as ‘genius’.
After acquiring the house from her father Mrs Greville set about transforming it into a glittering, venue suitable for hosting regular gatherings of elite of royalty, politicians, artists, and those at the very top of the social ladder. The Grevilles called in the architects Mewes and Davis, who also designed the Ritz Hotel in London; with every convenience that was installed, including ensuite accommodation and telephones, in that day of age when such
things were simply not common.
The house was furnished in opulent style, but not in any coherent fashion, for the decoration was acquired from other country houses and historic properties, so that the entrance hall is in a different style from the Library, which is completely different to the Saloon, and so on. The fact that she made her own stamp which so many people at that time and this day in age; it has become one of the fascinating things about Polesden Lacey, to which each room seems different as you enter the room, with a unique style and distinct character your like “oh wow” you get the sense of idea that people liked coming to the house and feel right at home. Moving from one room to the next is a constant journey of discovery of what she used the rooms for; how people felt when they arrived to their destination of peace and quiet, no disturbances or anything of the sort.
In 1923 Mrs Grevilles had offered Polesden to the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) for their honeymoon, and the royal couple spent two weeks at the amazing country house. This had brought a result of the house and grounds in a London Newspaper that country house had been featured; also this has given the light of a wonderful historic articfact that has survived on record by showing how the interior and the gardens had looked at the time, and what it looks like today. More like time relapse of over the years since the National Trust had been given to them.
1942 Mrs Greville left the estate to the National Trust in memory of her father with the original artifacts, paintings, everyday uses at that time and many more you can see off hand. Unlike many other National Trust houses across the country there are very little in the way of ‘below stairs’ rooms on view to the public. Many of the original servant’s quarters are used by the Trust as part of their regional offices.