Built: 1887 (extended in 1893)
Location: Wolverhampton WV6 8EE
History: Theodore Mander, a Wolverhampton paint manufacturer, and his Canadian wife Flora, commissioned Edward Ould to build Wightwick Manor in black and white ‘Old English’ style in 1887 (extended in 1893).
They decorated it with Morris & Co. furnishings, Kempe stained glass and De Morgan tiles, but had more conventional late Victorian tastes in painting, buying chiefly English and Continental views.
Review: So me and Luke went to see this place at the start of February.
If I remember correctly, we had planned to go to Powis Castle in Wales, but due to there being a really bad storm, most places weren’t opening that Saturday and we didn’t want to risk driving far in case we got stuck in Wales for whatever reason.
But, you know, there are hidden treasures all over Britain that don’t depend on the weather and are just waiting to be discovered. And if the sun does happen to be showing its face, then all the better. It’s just a shame that it was chucking it down that day,
But it’s thanks to storm Dennis, that me and Luke discovered this gem.
We were both pleasantly surprised by this place. Unfortunately, we could only see the bottom half of the house (as the top floor was closed), but I guess that just means that we will have to return at some point in the future.
And I would really like to come back to this place.
The only thing that I didn’t like about it, was the fact that driving up to it was awful. The roads were so busy and narrow. Cars were parked on either side and people are impatient whilst driving! It’s a lot nicer driving, when you haven’t got other people driving on the road haha!
Anyway, we didn’t really know what to expect when we came to this place. But even just looking at the exterior you can tell that this is an impressive place.
The exterior of the building is a combination of Elizabethan, Jacobean and Arts and Crafts styles, with elaborate timber framing, bright red brick, fantastically decorated chimney stacks, leaded windows and a later addition of a mock medieval hall.
But the inside is much more impressive.
The interior is just breathtaking. Although we only saw the ground floor, there was still plenty to make us both just say wow.
The interior is really a testament to the finest craftsmen of the day; it has one of the most complete William Morris interiors with decorations, light fittings, wall coverings, carpets, embroidery and upholstery all designed by the firm.
From the drawing room to the billiard room, library, great parlour with its huge inglenook fireplace and the bedrooms, you can see a house that was the acme of good taste, in which every piece of furniture and decoration was carefully selected and shown off to its best advantage.
The rooms and their décor look now as they did when the manor was lived in, not like an artificial collection set in a museum.
I have to say, when we first walked into this house, it was kind of dark, but it was also like we had imeddiately stepped back in time.
Every piece has been left as is. It’s inviting, it makes you want to see more.
This place feels like a home, a place that has certainly been lived in. The amount of items that you can look at means that you can easily spend a few hours exploring this place.
The first couple of rooms are nice, but then the next rooms are just spectacular.
Be prepared to be surprised, you literally just turn this corner and it’s like wow okay, the next room is just huge!
This is The Great Parlour at Wightwick Manor, there is so much space here and the detail was just something to be marvelled at.
What I loved though was that if you wanted to sit down and take a moment to savour the space, all you have to do is look out for a cushion with a cat on it – a tribute to Lady Mander’s love of cats.
Just look at all this detail – so impressive right? This is just one of the little alcove things in the Great Parlour (not sure what you call it).
The Great Parlour was certainly an impressive room. It was designed to look like a Great Hall but with beautiful furnishings.
There’s even a Minstrels Gallery at the back of the Great Parlour, but it’s actually a useful landing rather than an ornamental feature. This picture doesn’t do it justice at all – you need to go and see it.
If you can, try and visit on a day when there is sunshine, I think that would make a huge difference to this house.
There are so many windows, and I can just imagine how light this place would be. The occasional time when the sun did came out did make a huge difference, and I think that that would just perfect the experience.
Here’s just a little extra of all the things that you can have a look at.
But don’t worry if things become a bit too much for you inside, then you can wander outside to the south terrace to enjoy the vistas of the 17-acre Edwardian garden – as you might expect, planned by a leading landscape designer of his day.
Take a stroll through the orchard, along the yew walk, under the rose arbour, among the pools. This is something which me and Luke didn’t do, just because the heavens had decided to open. But maybe next time we will explore these gardens (when we can).
So even though, we can’t go an explore these places at the minute, I hope you enjoyed this mini journey, at least you can feel slightly priveldged that you’re one of the few to discover the secret joys of Wightwick Manor.
And hopefully, this has made you want to go in the future!