Lesley Hedges and Joy Debney organised a very successful Tonbridge U3A visit on 22nd March to Hughenden Manor, the former home of Benjamin Disraeli, near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. Unfortunately, Joy was unwell on the day and could not take part. David Richardson stepped into the breach and supported Lesley on the trip. The visit was so well supported, that a bigger coach was arranged, and everyone received a generous refund.
Hughenden Manor and its grounds are well worth a visit. Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, the first Jewish Prime Minister of UK, was very highly regarded by Queen Victoria, who placed a memorial to him as his grateful sovereign and friend.
A Hams coach full set off on Tuesday 22nd March, in the capable hands of Junior, along the halting way that is the M25. We passed through High Wycombe into the Chilton hills to arrive at coffee time in the Stable Yard of Hughenden Manor.
Suitably refreshed a short walk took us to the brick built manor house with its glazed entrance - Disraeli felt the cold. This led into a double hall one part affording a view across the delightful garden. This had been the work of his wife, Mary Anne (and 20 navvies).
The house was of a very human scale and one felt that one could have moved into to it in a way that never occurs when looking at many of the great houses we visit. The house had been re-furnished to look as it did when they were there - much of this being original. The dining room was panelled and seated only 6 [photo]. Their bedroom was bright and white and looked out over the formal part of the garden [first photo].
As well as his library there was also his study which he called 'his workshop' and where he wrote his later novels 'Lothair', 'Endymion', and Falconet'.
Disraeli was not the only important occupant of the manor for during the Second World War it was home to a Bomber Command Mapping Unit, known as Operation Hillside. From here maps of Berlin, Peenemunde as well as the locations of the Turpitz and Hitler's mountain retreat were made and enabled those missions to be successful.