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A few years ago, the BBC and the National Trust collaborated on a project to do up Avebury Manor, in Wiltshire, in an innovative way.  I avoid the word ‘restore’, as each room was done up, using modern copies and decoration, as a kind of stage set, to illustrate how the room might have looked at a certain period of the Manor’s history.  Right now, staff and volunteers have further embellished each room to show how it might have looked at Christmas.  I visited last week with a friend. P1170322001Here are some photos I took, reflecting not historical order, but our tour, which started with how a Tudor dining room might have looked at Christmas in the mid 16th century.P1170328001 P1170333001Next was a dining room as it might have been in 1798, when the then owner, Sir  Adam Williamson, former Governor of Jamaica had a fatal fall in that very room, possibly as the result of a stroke.P1170336001 P1170339001We visited the post World War I billiard room, but I was unable to get a decent picture, other than this one, P1170360001for too much brilliant sunlight and the presence of too many visitors.

The 1912 kitchen occasionally reminded us of items we had known in our own 20th-century childhoods.P1170361001

P1170364 copie002 P1170366 copie002We were pleased to be offered in the room next door, which had been the servants’ hall, minced pies and mulled apple juice.

It was the millionaire archeologist Sir Alexander Keiller, of the marmalade family, who bought Avebury Manor in the 20th century, in order to work on excavating and re-erecting the standing stones.  (His widow gifted the estate to the National Trust in 1966.) Here is his parlour as it may have looked in the 1930s.P1170380001

P1170374 copie002Next we saw a late Tudor bedroom, sadly with a sumptuous bedcover removed and a rather boring ‘Christmassy’ one in its place.  Still, it was good to see the handmade felt decorations on the Christmas tree, though on reflection wasn’t it the Queen Victoria’s Prince Albert who introduced that traditional Christmas symbol to the country?P1170385001 P1170389001 P1170396001Queen Anne may or may not have dined at Avebury Manor, and may or may not have slept there in 1702.  But Richard Holford, the owner at the time, may well have  prepared for the eventuality, and here is a stage set version (as the guide insisted) of how it might have been done.P1170398001No explanation was given of these festive delights:P1170408001 P1170413001Most of the garden was closed, but we were able to see a little of it and look back at the house,P1170426001

P1170430001before walking alongside the wall past the church P1170432001to the outbuildings, including the cafeteria where we lunched, after visiting the archeological museum.  Then, as it was a chilly day, whether or not the sun was out, we limited our visit to the Avebury Stone Circle to a few minutes, before making our way home.P1170443001 P1170447001