Centenary Edition

I’m proud to announce that this is the 100th Chartwell Garden blog post that we have produced since I started to write it waaaay back in the heady days of September 2011! During that time we have had (at the time of writing) 20,640 ‘hits’ (or ‘visits’ to you and I) from over 110 different countries! If you have read our blog at any point during that time then I thank you for stopping by and hope you found something interesting and/or enjoyable while you were here. So how should we celebrate this milestone? Well, I initially considered waffling on about the fact that we have around 100 different rose varieties here at Chartwell. I also thought about trying to shoe-horn in the fact that Sir Winston Churchill came top of the BBC 100 Greatest Britons poll in 2002. But no. Instead I decided that there was no better way to reach 100 blog posts than by carrying on as we have done with the previous 99 and bring you another story from the gardens here at Chartwell. This week, the Bomb Crater…

If You Go Down To The Woods Today – Part 3

The Bomb Crater in the woodland at Chartwell

The Bomb Crater in the woodland at Chartwell

Regular readers will hopefully remember that in the last few weeks we’ve been telling you about the new developments in the recently opened Chartwell estate. The last post in this series told the tale of the Canadian Soldier Camp and this week we continue that historical theme. Over the last six months or so, Stephen Humphrey our Estate Supervisor, and his team have been beavering away up in the woods beyond the lakes creating specific areas of interest for our visitors. The Bomb Crater is one such area.

This specially carved replica bomb marks the spot where a real live one fell during the war

This specially carved replica bomb marks the spot where a real live one fell during the war

You would have thought that the home of Sir Winston Churchill would be a prime target for German bombers and that the area would be littered with the evidence of fallen bombs. The Bomb Crater we have highlighted in our woods is the only one on the Chartwell estate however. There is a chain of thought that the German pilots were in fact told to specifically avoid bombing Churchill’s house as it would make a grand statement for Hitler or Joseph Goebbels to take up residence there when the Germans invaded Britain. Thankfully that day never came and the crater we are left with is believed to be a near miss of an attempt to hit nearby Biggin Hill airport where the RAF were based locally.

A map of the sites of fallen explosives in Westerham and Brasted, two of the most heavily bombed areas of Kent. (courtesy of 'Westerham & Crockham Hill in the War' by Helen Long)

A map of the sites of fallen explosives in Westerham and Brasted, two of the most heavily bombed areas of Kent.
(courtesy of ‘Westerham & Crockham Hill in the War’ by Helen Long)

At the time, that wasn’t to be known however. As we saw in the last blog about the Canadian Camp, the lakes were camouflaged to avoid being spotted from the air. There were also soldiers from the Home Guard stationed at Chartwell to provide a constant military presence as the pictures below show…

Two soldiers guarding the Chartwell gates (courtesy of 'This Other Eden' by Val Doone)

Two soldiers guarding the Chartwell gates
(courtesy of ‘This Other Eden’ by Val Doone)

Sir Winston presenting long service medals to the special constables who guarded Chartwell during the war (courtesy of Roland Shergold)

Sir Winston presenting long service medals to the special constables who guarded Chartwell during the war
(courtesy of Roland Shergold)

We had a War Time Weekend for our visitors here at Chartwell recently. If you were lucky enough to have been here you would have seen the skies above Churchill’s home and gardens gracing a WWII plane once again as part of the spitfire fly past we hosted. A beautiful plane from Kent Spitfire put on a great show, a couple of clips of which you can see by clicking on the following links:

Spitfire Fly Past 1
Spitfire Fly Past 2

It wasn’t only bombs that the planes over Kent used to carry during the war. Elephant-brained readers among you may recall a blog I wrote all the way back in November 2011 about the spent hops we collect regularly from nearby Westerham Brewery. If not you can time travel back by clicking right here. As the picture below shows, Westerham Ale was delivered in barrels to troops in Europe from the aforementioned Biggin Hill airport…

These auxiliary dual-purpose tanks are apparently being filled with mild on one side and bitter on the other! (courtesy of Helen Long)

These auxiliary dual-purpose tanks are apparently being filled with mild on one side and bitter on the other!
(courtesy of Helen Long)

Today the Chartwell Bomb Crater is well signposted throughout the woods and a fascinating place to stop on a walk through our 92 acre estate. It also commands some excellent views back across the Parkland to the Chartwell mansion itself.

There are even some rustic benches surrounding the crater, complete with bum-shaped recesses!

There are even some rustic benches surrounding the crater, complete with bum-shaped recesses!

In the Spring it is filled with Bluebells

In the Spring it is filled with Bluebells

So make sure you walk that extra mile the next time you’re with us at Chartwell and take a walk into our wider estate where the Bomb Crater is just one of the interesting places you can stumble upon. And if you keep reading this blog I’ll hopefully see you after the next 100! Happy birthday to us!

Jamie

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Chartwell Life, Garden History

3 responses to “Centenary Edition

  1. AliG

    Happy Birthday indeed Jamie, many thanks for 100 stimulating and interesting blogs, more power to your pen for the next 100!

  2. Pingback: Canadian Troops at Chartwell | Keep calm and carry on blogging

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s