Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Mount Stewart Memories: I

CHARLES VILLIERS, A GRANDSON OF LADY MAIRI BURY AND GREAT-GRANDSON OF THE 7TH MARQUESS AND MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY, REMINISCES ABOUT MOUNT STEWART, COUNTY DOWN,  DURING THE 1960s AND 1970s



The swimming-pool at Mount Stewart was such a fun place for children.

My sister Charlotte and I loved every minute of going there.

I have virtually an album full of photographs of enjoyable times on hot days at the swimming pool.

As I remember, the last summer we used the pool daily, as opposed to intermittently thereafter, was 1977. 

I was born at Newtownards in 1963 and, my parents having married whilst my father was an undergraduate at Oxford, had no proper home at first so, my mother having returned to Northern Ireland for me to be born, they then left me with my grandmother [Lady Mairi] for the first six months of my life.

Thereafter, during all my childhood and school-days, we spent huge amounts of the holidays at Mount Stewart - pretty well every Christmas and New Year, a month every summer (much spent at the pool), and occasional Easters.

My wonderful grandmother gave me my driving lessons in her lime green Rover (with bright orange interior) on the estate roads. 

Curiously enough I was always back at boarding school by the time the rhododendrons were in full flower so it was only in the 1990s when we now stayed with my grandmother in May most years that I saw them for the first time in all their glory.

I am grateful to Charles Villiers for these recollections.   First published in November, 2010.

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