Friday, 17 August 2007
Steam trains and Standen
We had a great day out today - a trip on the Bluebell-Railway up to Standen , a William Morris Arts and Crafts house in the Sussex countryside. First stop was to Sheffield Park station to join our steam train travelling up the Bluebell line that stretches across beautiful countryside.
The little station - well in fact, the whole journey, is a step back in time, it's vintage enamel sign heaven as soon as you reach the station!!
Forget the beautiful scenery, the steam engines and timetables, there are enough enamel signs at the stations to keep us all happy!
Each platform, waiting room, ticket office and train carriage has been lovingly restored and it does feel for the length of the journey that you have stepped into another age. The girls loved it, the train was both Hogwarts Express and a train taking them to be evacuated to the country just like in Narnia!!
Our 1920s vintage steam train took us to Horsted Keynes and Kingscote stations, both beautifully restored - just like scenes from The Railway Children.
At Kingscote we got a bus to Standen a beautiful Arts and Crafts house just outside East Grinstead, now owned by The National Trust.
It's such a shame that we weren't allowed to take photos as this has to be one of our favourite NT properties - full of fantastic William Morris designs - textiles, ceramics, wallpapers and furniture, Burne Jones and Rosetti paintings etc but still retaining the feel of a real family home. if you get a chance to visit you should, but beware, if you're thinking of ever owning it, join the queue, I'm afraid we've already divied up the house and nabbed the bedrooms! A beautiful, beautiful home with equally lovely gardens, in acres of beautiful countryside, It was home to the Beale family who had it built especially for them and their seven children and 19 grandchildren who would come and stay. They must have had so much fun, there are photos of them using the old fire chute as a slide from the top floor down to the gardens, toboganning down the slopes on old trolleys and holding secret meetings on a lead shelf above the beautiful conservatory. You get the feeling that this really was a home rather than some old stately pile in the country, a home that was used and enjoyed by its owners.
For us it was back home on the old train and back to reality.
Have a lovely weekend.