On this page;

● Wightwick Manor and Women’s Suffrage

Breakfast at Packwood House

● A letter from Nicola Harris about NT film project

● Honorary Life Membership

● WNTA donation to Wightwick Manor

● New Gateway at Charlecote Park Places Meadow

● Antiques Roadshow at Baddesley Clinton


Wightwick Manor and Women’s Suffrage

One hundred years ago, the first act of Parliament was passed allowing some women to vote. This year there are many events and displays to reflect on the struggle of the Suffragettes. At Wightwick Manor from 1st March, the Drawing Room will be set up as though for a suffragist meeting.
Geoffrey Mander and his first wife, Florence were both members of the Wolverhampton Women’s Suffrage Society. Geoffrey was a Liberal MP who argued tirelessly for the rights of female domestic workers.

Breakfast at Packwood

During February, Packwood House has been organising ‘package’ tours which include breakfast and a guided tour of the house. They have proved to be very popular and we were lucky to book the last two places on the Monday of our choice. By then all of the tours were sold out. After an excellent and very filling breakfast we were escorted to the house by Emily and Will who are both working on the conservation of the building and its contents. Their knowledge of the house is extensive and they imparted this knowledge clearly and in an interesting way. By limiting the group size, they were able to show us previously unseen parts of the house such as the attic and roof spaces, in which a ‘confusion’ of timbers demonstrated how many changes there had been through the years.

Roof timbers at Packwood

Packwood was originally built in the 16th century for the Fetherston family. In the 1920s and 1930s Graham Baron Ash extensively remodelled the house in the Tudor style, adding rooms, converting the barn into the Great Hall and adding a Long Gallery. He bought fittings and furniture from other Tudor properties and left detailed instructions about how they should be arranged even after he left the house to the National Trust in 1941.
On one of the coldest days of the year, Packwood House felt warm and welcoming.


A letter from Nicola Harris

Dear Walsall National Trust Association,

I’m a researcher at a production company based in London called Lonelyleap.  We are currently working with the National Trust on a new film project that explores people’s special connection with NT places.  At the moment, we are doing further research to find additional stories from real people about the benefits that places bring to their lives. For the next phase, we are particularly looking for stories from grandparents, juniors (7-10 years old) and carers / those in need of care.
During my research I have come across your website and I noticed that you produce a newsletter for your membership, and wanted to know whether you might know of member stories that have a special connection with NT places?
One of the places that the NT have recommended as a popular place for grandparents to visit is Baddesly Clinton near Solihull.
The stories we are looking for can be from NT members, volunteers or even people who don’t have a NT membership, but who visit regularly.
There are no obligations to be involved in any filming at this stage, for the time being we are just researching a broad range of stories to present back to the National Trust teams.
I look forward to hearing from you. I’m happy to chat on the phone if it’s easier.
Best wishes,

Anyone who is interested in sharing a good story related to a NT property, please contact Nicola at nicola@lonelyleap.com or phone on 0208 858 7000 (Office) or 0203 856 9818 (Direct)


Honorary Life Membership

A letter from Ron and Irene Dale

Irene and I would like to thank the President, Cliff Hubbold, Chairman, Dr. Malcolm Taylor, members of the Management Committee and all members of Walsall National Trust Association for the unique honour of granting Honorary Life Membership to us.

We have so many happy memories of all our involvement with the Association We joined the Association when it was formed in August 1985. Soon, Irene became involved with the Merchandise Counter originally headed by Eunice Perry and Joan Richardson. Eventually Irene took over the running of the Counter when Joan became President. I lent a hand in advertising. We both soon became members of the Management Committee holding office until we retired last year. 

Irene and I took over the editorship of the Newsletter in the autumn of 2009. With help, we also had a Web Site written for us which we administered. In this IT age it is a “must” in informing not only our members but the wider public of what is taking place within our Association. We were very pleased to be able to pass on the editorship of the Newsletter and the Web Site to Kathy and John Norman

Over the years, we have met and made friends with people from all walks of life and from many different backgrounds. It certainly gave us the opportunity to visit many National Trust and Private properties either by coach, car or on holidays that we would not otherwise have visited. The evening and afternoon talks were and are always very informative giving us information on a whole range of subjects. Also, the monthly walks and walkers’ holiday gives an added interest to many of our members. We are lucky to have those members who dedicate their time in arranging all these activities. We would like to thank them all for the help they gave us during our time of editorship.

Our very best wishes to all members of the Association. Long may it continue to prosper..

Irene and Ron Dale.


WNTA donation to Wightwick Manor

Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton

Walsall National Trust Association has ensured that an exciting new project at Wightwick Manor has gone ahead by donating £12 000 to the house. The old Malthouse has been converted into a gallery. This gallery will enable them to display works of art from nationally important collections across the country. They are starting with a 10 year partnership with the De Morgan foundation to display ceramics by William De Morgan and paintings by his wife, Evelyn.
  The gallery is now open. Click on the image to read about the first impressive display.

Click on the image to discover more

The total project cost is £120,000 but they have secured £110,000 from various charitable Trusts and £50,000 from the property’s own funds. WNTA has covered the final £10 000 and provided £2 000 to purchase 8 steamer chairs for the terrace, which was another item on the Trust’s ‘wish list’. The funds are part of a bequest from the estate of Miss Margaret Stanley, who was a member of our association until her death. Margaret’s gift will be properly acknowledged when the gallery is opened.


New Gateway at Charlecote Park Places Meadow

Another property to benefit from Margaret Stanley’s legacy is Charlecote Park. The gateway into Places Meadow has deteriorated over the past few years and needs replacing. The donation of £4 500 from WNTA will enable the gateway to be restored to the same design as the original.

Places Meadow overlooks the River Avon as it flows through Charlecote Park. Paul Smith, the Park and Garden manager, describes it as pretty, peaceful and productive. Following wildflower planting in 2015, it was featured on BBC’s popular programme, Country File. At various times of the year, a fine herd of Jacob sheep can be seen grazing in the meadow.

Ruth Webb, Business Support Coordinator at Charlecote writes, “Can I thank your members for your continued support. We are always delighted by the support that is given to our work from our local supporter groups and recognise that much of our work couldn’t take place without you.”

Charlecote Park


Antiques Roadshow at Baddesley Clinton

If you watch the TV series “Antiques Roadshow” you will have recognised that the programmes are often filmed at NT properties. (I love the bit when the high valuation of a family treasure is met by a shocked “of course we would never sell!).This is not only a source of revenue to a property but is also very good and widely spread publicity as Fiona Bruce shares something of the history of each house, the family who owned it and the treasures still on show. Last October, one of Walsall Association’s favourite properties Baddesley Clinton, was the venue for two consecutive programmes and I think the producers showed it well.Unlike some of the larger, grander properties, one could imagine it as a home (“Don’t get ideas above your station, Ali)) and Fiona told something of the history of the Ferrers family who had lived there for more than 500 years. To some of us, this programme was especially interesting but I hope that future Roadshows will introduce new people to the places to whose upkeep we contribute . Please spread the word to your friends!

Alison Beardwood

Fiona Bruce at Baddesley