Preparations underway for a 1940s Christmas at Attingham

Preparations are well under way for Christmas at Attingham Park the National Trust property on the outskirts of Shrewsbury.

A 1940s Christmas at Attingham. Photo: Phillip Abram / National Trust
A 1940s Christmas at Attingham. Photo: Phillip Abram / National Trust

Fairy lights, baubles, and bows are being carefully checked, sorted and counted ready for Attingham to turn the clock back from Saturday 2 to Saturday 23 December with ‘A 1940s Christmas at Attingham’.

Claire Tafft, Visitor Experience Manager said “December is a special time at Attingham – we spend the whole of November getting the site and Mansion decorated and looking it’s festive best for Christmas. We have 17 decorated Christmas trees, over a mile of fairy lights, 450 handmade bows, and over ¼ of a mile of handmade paperchains to decorate the trees and site! We’re hoping that visitors will escape to Attingham and leave the hum-drum behind to experience a jolly 1940s Christmas this December!”

Visitors will be able to enter into the spirit of the 1940s in the impressive Mansion with rooms individually themed and decorated to celebrate the Christmases of the decade. Music, photographs and papers, stories and traditions will be found in the show rooms, and in the servants areas in the basement, on selected dates 1940s cooks will be found in the kitchen, baking and preparing a Women’s Institute ‘tea’ from the times.

However, it wasn’t all glad-rags and good-times during the 1940s at Attingham. It was a decade of much change for the 8th Lord Berwick, Thomas, and his wife Teresa who lived here, and also in the outside world with the ongoing impact of World War II until 1945, and in the years after. The estate was bequeathed to the National Trust by Thomas, 8th Lord Berwick in 1947. By the end of the decade it remained the home of Lady Berwick, it was the location for the Shropshire Adult Education College and it was under the care of the National Trust. These themes will also be reflected on site and visitors will be able to find out more about some of these aspects of the estate’s history on the first floor of the Mansion.

Amongst events and activities taking place in the run up to Christmas are a series of ‘Make a wooden snowman’ workshops. On Saturday 25 November, Saturday 2 and Saturday 9 December visitors can take part in a craft workshop to make their own snowman Christmas decoration. Join Attingham’s Outdoors Team for this festive activity using natural materials from the estate to make a mini wooden snowman. Once built there will be a choice of felt hats and knitted scarves to decorate the snowmen, handmade by volunteers at the site, and from home.

It costs £8 to make a wooden snowman (admission charges will also apply for non-members of the National Trust), workshops take place at timed intervals on each day, and places must be pre-booked in advance. Please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park/whats-on or call 03442 491895 to book your place. All the money raised from Attingham’s snowman workshops is used to conserve and maintain the estate not just now, but for future generations.

The Mansion will be open every day from Saturday 2 December – Saturday 23 December, 10.30am – 4pm (last entry at 3.30pm). The Park, and Field of Play are open from 8am everyday (apart from Christmas day) and close at 5pm or dusk if earlier, throughout November and December. National Trust members and under 5s visit Attingham for free, whole site admission charges apply for non-members. For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attinghampark or call 01743 708170.