[Aug. 2022] We visited Cliveden, the site of an English aristocratic mansion, at the invitation of a couple of friends.
It’s a mansion located about nine kilometres east of Marlow, which we visited a few months ago, and it’s now managed by the National Trust, a charity that protects historic buildings.
The friends are members of the National Trust.
They gave us free tickets for outsiders, so we, non-members, were able to enter for free.
Even so, the general public can only enter the garden of this mansion.
The mansion itself is now a luxury hotel, so only overnight guests can enter.
However, there seems to be some limited days when you can see the inside in a tour format.
This 17th-century aristocratic mansion is famous, according to friends, for two things.
First, it was the home of Nancy Astor, the first woman elected to Parliament in 1919.
The second is a little more complicated, as it was the setting for the “Profumo Affair” scandal that overthrew the government in the 1960s.
At a party held at this mansion, a man named John Profumo, who was the Secretary of State for War at the time, met a socialite showgirl who was also in contact with a Soviet naval officer, and it became public that he had an affair with her.
Because of his position, it was not only a personal affair, but also developed into a social disaster, and it led that Prime Minister McMillan at the time was forced to resign.
Unfortunately we couldn’t see the swimming pool where these two met.
In the first place, going back, it is said that this mansion was built by the Duke of Buckingham for his concubine, so it is a scandalous mansion anyway.
The garden is huge, and our friends said that they sometimes come here to enjoy a walk.
At the chapel where you can see the surrounding scenery, we were able to hear the story from the person in charge.
The building used to be a tea house during the time of the Duke of Buckingham, but became a chapel after becoming the property of Viscount Astor.
It is covered with mosaics rich in gold, and marble is used extensively.
However, the upper part that looks like marble is actually domestically produced alabaster, and the lower part is the real marble in reddish purple and green colour, which were brought from overseas.
The mosaic is made of glass from Murano, Italy, and was made locally and transported here.
The floor is also marble, but now it is protected by a rug.
The person in charge turned the rug over and showed us the real floor, which was beautiful.
Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside the chapel.
We then descend a long natural staircase to the banks of the Thames, which runs along the edge of the garden.
You can take a boat here.
Also, there are a few cottages along the river bank, and it is possible to rent them.
In addition, we saw the theatre ruins buried in grass, passed through the Long Garden with green artificial lawn, looked at the “Fountain of Love”, and walked through the Water Garden.
It seemed that we had only scratched a small part of the vast garden, though.
Thanks to the good weather, we were able to take a pleasant walk.
While walking, I was thinking about the race called aristocrat, whom I usually don’t have contact with.