Thursday, 11 September 2014

Evington House, Leicester

Leicester, Evington House
Evington House

If like me, you look up and catch a glimpse of an interesting window or the gorgeouss fa├žade of an old building you probably wonder what’s behind the locked door, so Heritage Open Week was a good opportunity to indulge my nosiness, with buildings across the country throwing open their doors to the public.  

Evington House in Leicester sounded good with its mention of ghosts and WWI – maybe a mini Downton Abbey? 

I’d not been to Evington Park for ages and had forgotten how nice it is:  lovely mature trees, nice planting but not too neat and municipal.   Evington House, in the middle of the park is an impressive looking ivy clad mansion, once a private residence.


Leicester, Evington House
Oak Panelled Room in 1930s
The house now belongs to Leicester City Council Parks and Jane, who works at Evington Park, was incredibly enthusiastic in showing us around.  Although making no claim to be an expert,  she was really enthusiastic in sharing what she did know about the house and it was obvious she loved the atmosphere of the house and felt privileged to be working in such a lovely place. 
  
The house is a higgledy-piggledy parade of rooms, stud partitioned into offices, rooms added on and bits and pieces left behind from all sorts of unmatching eras – a clawfoot bath, 1930s photographs, 1970s crockery, etc.  The staircase and especially the impressive oak panelled room with sweeping views from big windows over the park gave more of an idea what it would have been like when newly built by in 1836 by Colonel John Burnaby.
 
Cellar, Evington House, Leicester
Steps to the Cellar
Most interesting of all though was being taken down to the dark, cobwebbed cellars.  The place was a hospital for wounded war soldiers during WW1 and the cellars the most likely place for the makeshift mortuary.  Evington house do hold regular paranormal evenings and many ghostly sightings and happenings have been reported, although the ghost who’s most known is Edna, a lady who used to work at the house. 


Servant Bells
Spooky Servant Bells
The other spooky things were the servant bells still lining the walls and if you’ve read ‘Little Stranger’ by Sarah Waters, you definitely wouldn’t want to be working late at the office to hear one of those bells eerily ringing out. 
 
Although Evington House is no Downton Abby, it's a charming old house with an interesting atmosphere.

 The Good : Heritage Open Days are a really good chance to poke around in places you’re not usually allowed.

The not so good: All good, but shame Heritage Open Days aren't on for longer than a week, as it’s difficult to find the time to visit more than one or two.

Go again : Yes, planning to have a look around Leicester Town Hall tomorrow.