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A lovely afternoon: 2011 in sunshine and beautiful surroundings.

April 25, 2013
Wellington College Garden Open Day 2011

Wellington College Garden Open Day 2011. The College was  Established 1853 by Royal Charter.

Those of you who are regulars here will know that I love taking photos and I love the countryside, gardens, old villages and historic buildings.

Wellington College Garden Open Day 2011

Wellington College Garden Open Day 2011. Member of the Rugby Group which includes Harrow and Charterhouse Schools.

Many of the places I visit are the inspiration for some of my stories and I often post photos of the locations just to give my readers an idea of what set off my imagination.  The drive of Wellington College gave me the location for the drive to The Country Club in Ms Birdsong Investigates.

Wellington College drive - inspiration for the drive leading to The Country Club in Ms Birdsong Investigates

Wellington College drive – inspiration for the drive leading to The Country Club in Ms Birdsong Investigates

In 2011 I was lucky enough to spend a wonderful, sunny and warm afternoon wandering around the grounds of the world-famous Wellington College, which was holding a Garden Open Day in aid of The Berkshire Air Ambulance.

Wellington College - some of the buildings. Designed by John Shaw jnr.

Wellington College – some of the buildings inside the College.  The buildings  were designed by John Shaw Jnr.

Armed with my camera I set off for what I knew was going to be a fabulous afternoon.  The last time I had set foot in the grounds had been many years ago when the grounds and woodland belonging to the College formed part of my school’s Cross Country running course.  At least I wouldn’t be going home with cut knees, mud covered clothing and a bright red face this visit. 

 The College was established in 1853 by Royal Charter as the Nation’s Memorial to The Duke of Wellington and the College builds on the legacy of  ‘the greatest Englishman that ever lived,’  and ‘the Royal and religious Foundation of The Wellington College.’  It was opened in 1859 and was founded to educate the sons of fallen heroes and originally supported the children of deceased officers of the East India Company.        

The outside quad has lots of busts of famous people on display.

The outside quad has lots of busts of famous people on display.

The College is now a co-educational school and there are 1,000 pupils (aged 13-18).  The Master, Dr. Anthony Seldon (biographer of Prime Minister Tony Blair), has overseen the influence of the College outside Berkshire with the establishment and sponsorship of Wellington Academy in Wiltshire, and of WCIT, Tanglin, China in 2011.

The College is also closely affiliated to the near-by Eagle House School (Est. 1820) which is where my grandmother’s first husband was a Master.

Wellington College Garden open Day 2011 - one of the residences inside the College

Wellington College Garden open Day 2011 – one of the residences inside the College

Wellington College boasts several Victoria Cross recipients amongst the famous ‘old boys,’ who were educated there; Lt. Col. Francis David, Maj. Gen. Sir Charles John and Capt. John Franks to name three.

Speaking of famous people, those of us who are writers might be interested to learn that George Orwell was a past pupil  as was Sebastian Faulks Sir Christopher Lee (actor) and historian P J Marshall were old boys and so was the famous architect, Sir Nicolas Grimshaw.  These are but a few – the list is considerable.

Wellington College Garden Open Day 2011

Wellington College Garden Open Day 2011

The grounds and gardens cover 400 acres.  The College  is famous for the avenues of Wellingtonia trees originally from California and introduced here in the 1890’s (Sequoidendron giganteum) also known as Giant Redwoods, which are evergreen and can grow to 90m in height with trunks which are 7m in diameter.  They have huge cones which I love collecting. 

Wellingtonia - also known as the Giant Redwood - throughout the grounds

Wellingtonia – also known as the Giant Redwood – throughout the grounds

The local railway station was originally called Wellington Station as it was built to serve the college. These days it has the name of the village and serves the whole community.

The long driveway running  through the College grounds lined with Wellingtonia trees has an entrance in the local village with the exit near the railway station, for convenience of those at the College back when it was first built.

I had a lovely time walking through the grounds.  There was a cricket match on and people were sat on blankets and chairs watching the teams play in the warm afternoon sun.  It was a perfect ‘English,’ scene.                                              

Wellington College Garden Open Day 2011

Wellington College Garden Open Day 2011

                                          These gardens are almost secret as they are well hidden and unless someone had  sign-posted the way, I wouldn’t have found them.

Wellington College Grounds, Garden Open Day 2011

Wellington College Grounds, Garden Open Day 2011

 I tried hard to take photos without any visitors in them, but it was difficult, although not crowded most had the same aim in mind as I, and so just when I thought I had the place to myself, another person or persons would appear.  So you might be able to spot the visitor in some of these photos if you look carefully.

Wellington College Garden Open Day 2011

Wellington College Garden Open Day 2011

Garden at Wellington College 2011 (c) Jane Risdon 2011

Garden at Wellington College 2011 

Wellington College Gardens 2011

Wellington College Gardens 2011

The designer of the College Chapel  was  George Gilbert Scott who was well-known for St Pancras Station, The Albert Memorial and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (where I once worked), to name a few of his great works which also include Gothic cathedrals and hospitals.

Wellington College Chapel designed by George Gilbert Scott

Wellington College Chapel designed by George Gilbert Scott

I wanted to take more photos inside the chapel as it really is a fascinating place but there were people praying and I never feel comfortable clicking away at such times.  I do have lots more photos of the chapel, grounds and college but hope the few I’ve picked to show you are enough to give you an idea of the splendid surroundings in which the pupils learn and live.

Chapel Wellington College 2011 - one of many beautiful stained glass windows with names of past students and famous people.

Chapel Wellington College 2011 – one of many beautiful stained glass windows with names of past students and famous people.

The Chapel Wellington College 2011

The Chapel Wellington College 2011

The walls and windows are lined with names of those who studied at the school and those who did well.  There are also brass plaques with their names which shone brightly in the summer sunshine.

Stained glass rose window in the Chapel Wellington College 2011

Stained glass rose window in the Chapel Wellington College 2011

The ceiling in the chapel is also beautiful and I managed to take this shot before people came   in.

Ceiling over the alter in the Chapel, Wellington College. 2011.

Ceiling over the altar in the Chapel, Wellington College.   2011.     

There is a lovely lake in the grounds and I managed to spend a lot of time there taking photos of the ducks and swans.

Wellington College Lake 2011

Wellington College Lake 2011

I enjoyed my afternoon a lot and I hope you have enjoyed reading about a little of Wellington College’s history and looking at some of my photos.

Wildlife at Wellington College lake, 2011

Wildlife at Wellington College lake, 2011

As usual all my photos are copyright (c) Jane Risdon 2011.

Do let me know what you think of this beautiful place and the photos I have shown today.

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13 Comments
  1. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos from the stroll.

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  2. supernova permalink

    A very lovely and distinguished place Jane, I’m glad you enjoyed your visit. The feeling is always something special when one visits a place with such history and character – wonderful. My regards James 🙂

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  3. Hi Jane, You do take the most wonderful photographs. Wellington College is marvellous – went to a concert there a few years ago, remember it well. I’ve just been for a walk in the wood part of our garden – some of the bluebells are coming out!!

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    • Glad you liked them Phyllis, I had fun taking them. Thanks goodness for memory cards…if it was still the good old days of film I would think twice before clicking so happily! Yes they do wonderful concerts there, though I’ve never been. I had been to the RMA Music on Fire concerts (stopped now due to costs and lack of soldiers available) – all day events in the grounds with amazing music and fireworks and also projections onto the Old College. the trees are all out now and there are indeed bluebells. I love gardens with woods….magical places. Hope you had a relaxing time. 🙂

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  4. Jane – How lucky you were to have such a wonderful visit to such a lovely place! The ‘photos are gorgeous. What beautiful grounds and chapel! Little wonder you wanted to spend time there.

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    • I don’t live so near now Margot, but I pass it on the bus now and again and if they hold another open day, I shall try and go. We are lucky here as there are so many lovely places to walk, visit and of course, photograph. Glad you enjoyed the photos. I have stacks of them so it was hard to pick a few to show. I am sure where you live is just as lovely. 🙂

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    • Margot, last year I posted a visit I’d had to the local RMA Sandhurst – similar to your West Point – and you might enjoy those photos too…lots of history there as you can imagine. Also, it was the last place Prince Albert visited before he died and where he caught a cold which finished him off – he’s stood in the rain for hours when opening The New College building there.

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      • Thanks for the tip, Jane – I shall have to look up those ‘photos. And what an interesting history the place has!

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        • You will need to go down the blog page on the menu to July 2012 to find all the photos and the history info…if you can be bothered that is….. it is a way down the blog so no pressure. I hope you enjoy them if you get there. 🙂

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Please leave a reply and comment - your input is really appreciated. Thanks, Jane

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