Curious About Calke – A Day Out at Calke Abbey near Derby

Great place to visit in the autumn as they specialise in growing ornamental veg. V spooky too!


I have been wanting to visit Calke Abbey since 1985 when it was featured as a new acquisition by The National Trust on Blue Peter.  I remember images of dustsheets, decay, toys and taxidermy.  It was distinctly exhilarating to imagine a maze of rooms stuffed with curios.

A considerable amount of careful conservation work has been completed over the years. The house now appears to be organised as collections are displayed in categories and the rot has been halted to prevent further decay.

The story of the reportedly eccentric Harpur-Crewe family, which finally dwindled down to a remotely-connected America heir, is a story of aristocratic isolation and near extinction. Passions loomed large for successive Baronets who surrounded themselves with Art and specimens.

Even now, Calke is not a place for the faint-hearted, furnished as it is by death, beady eyes, horns and feathers. There are a few sad echoes of…

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