Nice home, shame about the palace

supplied by Nick Hudson for Nuneaton Memories

AS homes went, in those far-off days of the 19th century, there was probably nothing more splendid on offer.

Drayton Manor – with its 78 rooms, 12 main bed chambers and en suite dressing rooms – was rebuilt over a four-year period in the 1830s by the second Sir Robert who was prime minister to both William IV and Queen Victoria.


Resplendent with its dreamy cream towers, ornamental balustrades and tall, elegant windows, the stately home also possessed an almost unique central heating system – powered by a boiler in the basement.

It was 170 years ago today (November 28, 1843) that the young Queen Victoria and her dashing husband prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha passed through Nuneaton in the Royal train on the way to Drayton Manor.

Nuneaton people heard the Tamworth Castle cannon fired on their arrival as they took a horse and carriage drive to Drayton Manor and headed across the bridge which still stands today.

The visit was remarkable for a number of reasons. Firstly Victoria did not make many personal visits to homes outside of her own.

And the queen had been the first British monarch to live in BuckinghamPalace – remarking to her prime minister that Drayton Manor was “much warmer than her chilly and draughty palace residence.”

She went on to applaud the Staffordshire home – which was kept in order by a large staff of servants under the orders of a butler, with a footman to assist – as being the finest she ever visited.

The Royal suite of apartments occupied by Her Majesty and Prince Albert and their attendants on that memorable visit was on the second floor, with its own boudoir, sitting room and reception rooms, as well as apartments for their staff.

Not the language of the day but nowadays we might comment: Nice home, shame about the palace!



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