In his new book Hylands ‘A Remarkably Elegant…Mansion House’ Nick tells the story of this grand estate, which has been the site of society parties, horticultural innovation, a military hospital and a family home visited by a movie star and royalty. Nick will also talk about the remarkable and painstaking restoration of the house.
Venue: Hylands House, London Road, Writtle, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 8WQ
Date and time: Sunday 19th June, 11.00am
Tickets: Free, booking essential
Box Office: eventbrite.co.uk
Hylands ‘A Remarkably Elegant…Mansion House’. By Nick Wickenden with contributions from Linda Knock.
If you live in or around Chelmsford, you probably feel there’s little you don’t know about Hylands Estate. The elegant white mansion with its graceful parkland is a familiar sight to visitors, often used as the defining image for the city.
But how much do you really know about the story of this grand estate, which has been the site of horticultural innovation, a military hospital, and a family home visited by a movie star and maybe even royalty?
“Unlike many fine estates, Hylands hasn’t been passed through generations of one rich family. It has changed hands many times, from members of parliament, a polar explorer and now a local authority. The house is the main character of its own story; it isn’t a memorial to any particular owner but an architectural icon which has witnessed much change.” Author, Nick Wickenden
Details of nearly 300 years of life at the estate can be found throughout the book. These have been added by Linda Knock, a dedicated researcher of the house and the chairman of the Friends of Hylands House. Linda hopes these stories will bring insights to readers whether they are familiar with the Hylands story or not.
“There are so many wonderful details left to us and it’s been a pleasure to bring this all together for a real understanding of what life was like inside this extraordinary house. It’s no exaggeration to say that there are plot lines to rival those of any popular period drama: society parties, war heroes, prisoners of war, visits from royalty, a plane on the lawn and even a jeep driven up the main staircase by the SAS.” Contributor, Linda Knock
The new book isn’t just about the many people who have owned the house. Much of it is devoted to the restoration of the neo-classical villa and the incredible transformation which took place in the 1990s and 2000s.
Nick Wickenden is an archaeologist and former museum curator. He joined Chelmsford Museum in 1987, becoming the museum’s manager in 1994. He retired in October 2019 after successfully doubling the size of the museum, and winning a major National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to redisplay the galleries.
Nick became involved with the phased restoration of Hylands House in 1991 and oversaw the conservation and restoration of the rooms. He has lectured widely on the history and restoration of the house, and was recently asked by Hylands Estate to write this definitive guidebook with the assistance of Linda Knock.