Robert Sackville-West, Lord Sackville

Childhood days at Knole, 1967-1970s

Interviewed by Marcia Barton and Carol Cheeseman

Robert Sackville-West, Lord Sackville
The South Barracks, one of Knole's attic spaces, with more stories to tell visitors from 2019
An abandoned flat off the north wing at Knole
Photo by John Miller
The South Barracks, one of Knole's attic spaces, with more stories to tell visitors from 2019
Roaming the attics and the showrooms at Knole
An abandoned flat off the north wing at Knole
Mrs Hutchinson and her flat at Knole

Lord Sackville visited Knole many times when he was young, but did not expect to inherit the Sackville title from his uncle until later in life. He has many recollections of exploring the house and the workings of Knole Estate from years past, as the old, almost feudal, ways of life were finally dying out.

Transcript:

You mentioned that you loved roaming in the attics and up on the roofs. Were you ever allowed in the showrooms, were you allowed to wander?

RS-W: Yes, I’m sure we were. We could basically wander, in those days, anywhere. We would spend hours on the roofs, nobody really minded or cared, it was terrific. The showrooms we would also go in to, the only constraint there was when the alarms might or might not be on. But apart from that we would wander at will.

You didn’t feel tempted, like Vita was, to pick up the silver hairbrushes or anything like that?

RS-W: No, I think we were relatively respectful of the things. I remember when I was about 15, or 14, and in those days my father [Hugh Sackville-West] every night used to go on a round of the showrooms at about 9.30 or 10 o’ clock at the end of the day, I’m not quite sure why, and he had very bad asthma at one stage, and I remember volunteering and for one of the holidays aged 14 or 15, doing that round on my own by torchlight.

Transcript:

Mrs Hutchinson was a cleaner who worked for my mother, who was an elderly lady; I mean she was probably in her 70s when she took on the job, or certainly in her late 60s. She was a very genteel woman who had fallen on hard times. Her husband had been really quite a famous writer of the 1930s, I think, called A.S.M. Hutchinson, who’d written this very best selling novel called ’If Winter Comes’, which was great. She was reduced to cleaning and she lived in the little flat just off the north wing which still, in that way that Knole has, still bears her name, just as, for some reason or other, Mr. Mason’s rooms, unoccupied now by him for at least 40 years, still bear his name.

This page was added by Veronica Walker-Smith on 20/11/2013.

Comments about this page

  • Hi I am halfway through this delight full book but the question of why was no photographs of inside & outside was for security I would think Kind Regards John Clifford

    By John Clifford (18/09/2015)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Popular keywords

These are the most popular keywords used on the site. The more popular the keyword, the bigger the font size.

View all the keywords used in this catalogue.

Share this
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someone