World War II Day Beaumanor Hall

Today we went to a World War II event at the beautiful Beaumanor Hall which is I suppose really just a couple of villages away from where we live. Whilst out at the theatre the other week we picked up a leaflet and thought why not? It was £5 entry and free for kids!
They were offering all sorts of tours and mini talks, you had to book on line beforehand for these, we managed to bag quite a few tickets for each of them.

The air raid shelter was our first. It's situated in the cellar of the hall and about 30 of us went in with a tour guide. The effects were great, the air raid sirens sounded, what a terrifying noise that is and then the planes came over head. They sounded so scary, it's hard to truly imagine what that must have felt like. Then, the bombs hit!! The shelter shook and we could see fire outside ( special effects of course). Our time in the shelter lasted just 30 minutes but we were told that the longest during the war lasted 6 hours! I'm sure that would have been hard in some of the tiny air raid shelters that most families had.

I had mummy and daddy to look after me in the shelter (by the way I'm short but not that short, I was sitting down!)
It was kitted out just as it would have been in the war. Gas masks ( although everyone took their own) beds, blankets, food, nothing perishable, lots of tins of spam, and board games to pass the time.

Nick and his dad went on the next one which was a visit to the secret listening station and both were astounded by the activities that took place there, some remain top secret until this day.

This smart chappie took everyone to the huts (disguised to look like sheds filled with hay bales from the air) explaining how, predominately women, were in the huts for hours at a time monitoring the airwaves, intercepting German morse code messages that were being passed to German operators using the Enigma machine.
There were so many stands, with so much history on display, about the war and how it impacted on all our surrounding villages.

A German 3 wheel Enigma machine, fascinating.

The Hall has lovely gardens too, we only managed a quick stroll though as the weather couldn't make up it's mind!

Beaumanor was built during the 19th Century for the wealthy Herrick family and has played many roles over the years. Originally a grand country home, it later played an important part in World War Two, when it became a signals unit.

With its Victorian splendour and important World War II history, Beaumanor Hall offers a great deal for the visitor. It plays host to lots of school parties. They do a 'Victorian' school day. Both our kids did it when they were in primary school. We had to dress them in Victorian clothing, flat cap and all, and packed lunch all tied up in a tea towel!

Lots of wedding are also held here, in fact this is where my sister got married.

We took along my parents and Nick's dad and a splendid day was had by all. It's just so amazing to realise what went on and how this beautiful place on our doorstep played such a huge role in the war.

You can visit the website here for more info on Beaumanor and the upcoming events.



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