Wimpole Hall is the greatest country house in Cambridgeshire, and one of the finest in the eastern counties. A Georgian mansion built in the 1640s, the tall central section defines the earliest part, built for Sir Thomas Chicheley, MP for Cambridgeshire, whilst the lower sections and wings were added for Edward, Lord Harley in the 1720s. Lord Harley’s name is remembered in connection with Harley Street, his London estate.
From 1740 until 1895, the five generations of the Earls of Hardwicke who lived here brought in architects who refined the interiors to those that we see today.
The last owner, Mrs Elsie Bambridge, who had done notable restorations and other works, bequeathed this magnificent mansion and estate to the National Trust in 1976, having lived here for 38 years. Captain George Bambridge MC, her husband, had died four years after the purchase of the estate.
The façade is about 300 feet long, and at the centre, on top of the gable, is the statue-group of Charity by J. H. Foley; he is better known for the figure of the Prince Consort in the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park.
The busts on top of the pillars in the forecourt represent Fortune, Justice, Spring and Autumn, and, with the huge urns, were designed by James Gibbs whose architecture is well represented in the mansion.
Produced for the National Trust by Corvidae Ltd.
Richard Crowest (Corvidae)
Andreas von Einsiedel, Roy Fox, John Hammond
(National Trust Photo Library)
© 2007-2011 National Trust. Portions © 2005-2011 Corvidae Ltd