Jane Austen’s Link to Lyme House

Cold but still laughing

Cold but still laughing

Being a huge fan of Jane Austen, I am a little in love with all her leading men, none more so than Mr Darcy. For me Colin Firth is Darcy personified. He appeared in the BBC’s 1995 6 part adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. Now don’t worry I am not going to ramble on about Colin in this particular blog. I am instead going to be extolling the virtue of the property they used as his home in the series. The exterior images of Pemberley were shot at Lyme House.

Lyme House and Park are situated in Disley, Cheshire. The house was constructed around 1580 and remained in the Legh family until 1946 when they donated it to the National Trust . The estate comprises of not only the house and formal gardens but also boasts an ex-hunting lodge, deer park, orangey, adventure playground, timber yard, 2 gift shops, a café, a restaurant and not forgetting the Edwardian wardrobe department too. All this is set in 1400 acres of park land.

Over the winter months and to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice, they ran weekend events called The Only Way Is Pemberley. I attended several of these and really enjoyed them. On 16th February, the final day, I dressed up in a borrowed regency dress, cape and bonnet from their wardrobe department, all free of charge. Then Francis took my photo with the Mr Darcy look-a-like that had been hired for the day. It was a dream come true. Matthew Dimbleby is a dead ringer as Mr Darcy. He was extremely accommodating and patient as the visitors queued to have their picture taken with him. He looked every inch the part in his immaculate regency costume. At several locations around the estate were ‘picture ports’. These are open wooden picture frames, and if you took your photographs through these it would give you the exact location used by the film company. These were a great idea, mainly because it freed up the staff from continually being asked for these locations, whilst making it easy for the visitor to find these popular sites. While on the subject of staff I have to commend the workers at Lyme house. Not only were they extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the history of Lyme, but also about the filming and cast of Pride & Prejudice.

Now I am not sure how many of you know this but for the last several months Lyme House has also been the home to the 12ft statue of Mr Darcy. It has been happily sitting in the Reflecting Lake after a short stint in the Serpentine first. Sadly it is now being sold and will most likely be going to the National Trust in Australia. So if you want to see it, time is of the essence!!

My reliable source tells me that some 12,000 visitors enjoyed The Only Way is Pemberley over the last 12 or so weekends. No mean feat during winter. Having spent many very enjoyable days at Lyme House & Park during the last year I can only say I hope they will consider making it an annual event. Well Done Lyme. Very sexy Matthew.

Text and photographs copyright of Lady Martine Roberts & MJRPhotography.

1. Lyme House & Park http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme-park
2. National Trust. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk
3. Matthew Dimbleby, Potter & Business owner.
4. Twitter. https://twitter.com/dimblebyceramic
5. Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/DimblebyCeramics
6. Website http://www.dimblebyceramics.co.uk

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