Renishaw Hall: BBC’s Pemberley

August 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm (books, entertainment, jane austen, places, travel) (, , , , , , , )

My friend Calista and her husband Francis recently journeyed to Derbyshire to visit Renishaw Hall.

Renishaw Hall served as Pemberley in the BBC’s 1980 production of Pride and Prejudice starring Elizabeth Garvey and David Rintoul. Calista and I love this version; for me, it’s due to the authenticity of Fay Weldon’s screenplay. In the photo above, you witness the arrival of Miss Eliza Bennet and the Gardiners.

They are greeted by Mrs Reynolds, the housekeeper:

We have here some of the finest rooms in the Country,
and many choose to view them.”

While the loquacious Mrs Reynolds takes pleasure in showing visitors the interior of the house, it is the gardener who leads the visitors around the gardens:

All of which causes Elizabeth to think that she might have been mistress of all she surveys at Pemberley:

Here are Calista’s thoughts on her own tour of Renishaw Hall / Pemberley:

“Went to Renishaw Hall around 11 yesterday. First, we explored the gardens, since the guided tour to the house for which I had made reservations began at 12:30.

The gardens were very well maintained with some flowers and as we walked we found some very beautiful butterflies, brown colour with big purple spots all over. We explored the very area where Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth met. I stood there admiring this beautiful house… I did want to walk by the lake but it was closed off and when Francis asked why I wanted to walk by the lake I had to explain it to him: That’s where Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth and the Gardiners walked by. You should have seen Francis’s face; it was priceless… He must have thought I was really gone nuts this time…

At 12:30pm there was a group of people and we all went in to the house. The house is opened to the public only by guided tours during August and September. The family rooms are still in use and we did see the grand drawing room, dining room, and few other rooms. There were three famous Sitwells — Edith Sitwell being one of them, her portraits were everywhere. Renishaw Hall is no Chatsworth but I didn’t expect it to be; it has its own beauty and charm. We didn’t see any of the bedrooms since upstairs was not included in the tour. Did not see the long gallery of portraits; don’t know if such a place exists at Renishaw. They did have a small museum in the court yard, as well. I did buy some rose petal potpourri at the gift shop.”

She later added,

“You know last night I rewatched the part where Elizabeth visits Pemberley. The gardens haven’t changed drastically. I am guessing the lake scene must be from somewhere else since the lake in front of the Renishaw Hall didn’t look anything like what was shown on the series. That part of the lake is blocked off from the edge of the gardens, so no way to walk towards the lake.

As to the house, the entrance where everyone enters is the very entrance we took. It’s the house’s main entrance and right in front of it is a parking lot now. Our car wasn’t parked too far from it. As you enter there is no staircase where Mrs. Reynolds meets the party but a somewhat larger room nicely decorated. The drawing room in the house is lovely; wish they had used the same room in the show. Remember where Mr. Bingley and the rest of the party meets? That room I did not see, perhaps a studio room or from somewhere else or even some other room in the house.”

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Previewing Persuasions

April 1, 2009 at 11:40 am (books) (, , , , , , , )

peak-cavern-entrance_1830-kmJASNA has posted a link to the table of contents for volume 30 (2008) of the Jane Austen Society of North America’s journal Persuasions. This annual is a peer-reviewed journal, featuring both articles based on papers presented at the October AGMs (Annual General Meeting; 2008’s took placed in Chicago) and ‘miscellany’ — which includes my own article on the 1833 Austen-Smith journey to Derbyshire: they travelled pretty much in the shoes of Elizabeth Bennet! Watch the JASNA website, for I have been told the article might be posted on their “maps” page (a quite useful resource, now augmented with related articles on places and travel pulled from the Persuasions archive). This article has evolved into an illustrated talk, which will be of interest to anyone with an affinity for 19th-century travel in England!

(picture, courtesy of, shows the Entrance to the Peak Cavern – complete with its twine workers)

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