The Gardens of Uppark House from 17th century to Now – Part 3

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Driving amidst long stretches of greenery we headed for the panoramic views from the lone house on a flat hilltop, across the South Downs, to the 17th century Uppark House and garden in England. Our visit was part of the Literary Trail to the late 19th century celebrity science- fiction writer H G Wells who spent part of his childhood and youth in Uppark House!  Further, it was a visit to unveil the captivating colourful lives of its several owners- Earls of Tankerville since 1690 to the wealthy Fetherstonhaugh family from 1747, their fabulous art collections and the exceptional lifelike realistic Doll- Houses of Uppark House!!

 A while ago, on the greenery enveloped gravel-path we spotted the Dutch architecture Uppark House- an attractive blend of red bricks-off-white stone work with a grey sloping roof, the lone house on the Hill- the ‘Up Park House’. Earlier we had visited the regal rooms and the contrasting Servants Basement of Uppark House, discovering the famous writer H G Wells connexion to Uppark.


The Uppark House medieval South Entrance with panoramic views

From Old Kitchen to a Café

Exiting from the Servants area we hit an underground tunnel that held the perfect modern toilets now, but the dim lit damp tunnel leads on to the steps of a sun lit large beautiful café in the Old- Kitchen of Uppark House. The guide map mentioned this as East Service building that we had earlier seen from outside. Sipping tea and enjoying scones, cream & jam we noticed an early 18th century Butterfield London antique clock, a Coat of Arms, a cast-iron cooking range from year 1815 with Pulleys & long iron skewers and a 19th century C Jeakes & Co steel furnace or Boiler. Exiting the museum like cafe we stepped out to explore the Garden.


Medieval kitchen Cafe now

Garden Acmes

Records state that adequate, good gardens, walks, orchards and trees at Uppark house existed since the 17th century when the house was built but most of the garden landscaping was done by known the noted landscape designer Humphry Repton and his son including the little Gothick Summerhouse we were about to visit. We stepped out in the garden to take photographs of the Café that was in the East Service building of the Uppark House from the year 1750 and the beautiful Bell Tower from 1754 picturesquely loomed behind it!!

The beautiful Urn garden decoration- a replica of the ancient Greek Urn

Next we turned towards a structure marked Game Larder from the year 1812- an area for storing meat after hunting game, whose windows were once covered with finely perforated metal sheets to allow air to come in but no insects or flies!

Garden landscapes

Outside we came across a Sun dial and tried to figure-out the afternoon time, checking with our watch for accuracy, that was fun! We soon reached the beautiful white Gothick seat that held captivating panoramic views of the East lawn and South Meadows; roasted to a golden brown by the Summer-Sun! We read that an account book record of the year 1758 showed it to have cost 70 pounds & 19 shillings!

Urn on the Mount

Next we reached the green environs of the spectacular Urn on the Mount – an 18th century Coade-stone (a mix of clay, terracotta and glass) ‘Borghese vase’, we further read that that this a 2\3rd sized copy of the original ancient Greek vase now in the famous French Louvre museum!



National Trust – the Efforts

While walking back to the car park we came across an interesting board- the Garden Project by the National Trust which maintains the Uppark House. It gave maps to display the historic path network of the medieval house that became overgrown during the 20th century and were lost. The National Trust is restoring the original paths to enhance the scenic quaint Uppark-gardens and attract visitors for Walks.

We discussed the immense restoration work at Uppark house after the massive fire of 1989 when 27 Fire engines and 156 fire personnel, alongwith the National Trust staff and the members of the Meade-Fetherstonhaugh family of Uppark house helped in saving the artwork, furniture and textiles from the blaze before putting out the fire!

Au Revoir

On the Literary Trail of H G Wells, we did manage a glimpse into his deprived childhood as the Housekeeper’s son, his passion to read in the vast Library of Uppark and the attic visits to study the universe through his Telescope leading to books like the Time Machine and Invisible Man to name just 2!! Additionally were the visions of the lavish Uppark home of art- treasures especially the unique Doll house and the medieval entertaining parties organised by the wealthy owners, over the centuries!!


HG Wells – the doyen of Science fiction- Time & Space

Famous writer HG Wells who wrote 50 plus novels, dozens of short stories, science -fiction besides non-fiction; had a childhood & youth days connexion with the 19th century Uppark House. Between1880-1893 he stayed several times at Uppark House where his mother Sarah Wells was the Housekeeper married to Joseph, the gardener at Uppark as they struggled with financial crisis most of their lives. Their son Herbert G Wells went on to become the renowned English writer of top-sellers especially science fiction; the creator of the popular mysterious Invisible Man, Time- Machine and many more!! 


Popular novels by H G Wells that we had seen earlier at another Statehome-Greys Court

Wells wrote about social and economic disparity in society particularly as he felt the sharp variance in the lifestyle of ‘Upstairs House’ and the ‘Downstairs basement’  of Uppark house, a fact he highlighted through his writings!! H G Wells biography includes essential recollections of Uppark- reading books from its library, star-watching with his telescope in the attic bedroom of Uppark House; that was an inspiration to his later literary works!