October 4, 2017

English Speaking Union Meeting in Lawrenceville

The English-Speaking Union (E-SU), Princeton Branch, will meet on Sunday, October 8 at 3 p.m. at The Kirby Arts Center at The Lawrenceville School. Free to E-SU members, the cost to attend is $10 for non-members.

Guest speaker Peter Ham’s talk is based on Catherine Bailey’s book, Black Diamonds and is titled The End Of It All: Wentworth House, The Fitzwilliams and the 1940s Labour Government. The talk describes the coda to the political and social forces set in motion by the Glorious Revolution and the 1689 Bill of Rights that Peter described in his earlier talk on the the English Landscape Garden movement, Politics in the Garden.

Ham looks at Wentworth House (the largest private house in the UK — stunning in both its scale and decoration) and briefly describes the history of the Earls Fitzwilliam, who owned the house from 1778 to 1979. His focus is on the way in which the estate’s coal-based wealth and the Fitzwilliams were targeted by the hard-left government of Clement Atlee following World War II in their efforts to break up the landed aristocracy. The events described would have been too far-fetched to have been included in episodes of Downton Abbey.

Ham studied at Dartmouth College, Oxford University and the London College of Garden Design. He owns Ham Landscape Gardens LLC and is head of the Garden Committee of Morven Museum.

The presentation will be followed by refreshments.

For additional information, visit www.esuus.org/Princeton.