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Wimpole

Wimpole is a complex house with a spectacular architectural pedigree. The original building (1640-70) was almost certainly designed by its owner, Sir Thomas Chicheley. It was extended in 1713-21 by James Gibbs and decorated by Sir James Thornhill. In the mid-18th century, Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke, commissioned Henry Flitcroft to re-face the central block and to make various internal alterations. The 3rd Earl called in Sir John Soane to design the Yellow Drawing room, with its sophisticated arches and vaults, and an austere but beautiful bath house. Wimpole’s interior is a rich mixture of mainly 18th-century decoration, including a spectacular Baroque chapel with trompe l’eoil murals by Thornhill. There is also a library designed by Gibbs for Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford. In 1938, after a period of neglect, it was bought by Captain George Bambridge and his wife Elsie, the daughter of Rudyard Kipling.

Visitor Information

Address:
Arrington,
Royston,
Cambridgeshire,
England,
SG8 0BW

Telephone: 01223 206000

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole-estate

Accredited Museum

Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire (Accredited Museum)

This collection has 13,710 items online

Captain George and Mrs Elsie Bambridge bought Wimpole estate in 1938, with the Hall almost entirely empty of contents. Over the next 40 years the Bambridges slowly furnished and decorated the house, seeking out pieces that were either once at Wimpole, or had strong connections to the estate or previous owners. Highlights such as the 1780s state bed, and the exquisite gilded sofas made especially to fit the curved walls of Sir John Soane’s Yellow Drawing Room, show how a grand country house would have looked in its heyday. Alongside the more formal rooms sit the cosier more personal spaces that make the house a home and reflect the Bambridges’ personalities and tastes. Look out for the collection of 18th and 19th century conversation pieces that decorate the drawing rooms, delicate French porcelain figures, and collections of carriage prints. Among Wimpole’s few indigenous contents is the great library of the Earls of Hardwicke (owners of Wimpole from 1740 to 1894), which the Bambridges chose to buy with the estate. With over 6000 books (4000 pre-1810), Wimpole’s library is one of the National Trust’s largest and most varied, enhanced by Elsie Bambridge’s own collection that includes books that belonged to her father, the author Rudyard Kipling

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