Ellie Harrison peeks through the keyhole of some of Hertfordshire's homes and gardens, planting trees in St Albans and visiting the former home of Barbara Cartland.
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I'm on a journey along the edge of London, in rural Hertfordshire,
beginning here, in a field soon to become a forest
and ending at the countryside home
of one of the 20th century's greatest sculptors.
'My journey starts near St Albans in a forest of the future.'
-This ground is incredibly tough, isn't it?
-It is jolly hard.
We've got to get down deep enough for these roots.
'Then it's off to Scott's Grotto in Ware,
'a puzzling remnant of 18th-century high society.
'I'll visit the gorgeous home
'of the late Barbara Cartland, queen of the romance novel.'
-So, we're in the very room that your mother used to write in.
I'd like to say welcome to Camfield Place, the home of Barbara Cartland
and the romance capital of the world.
And then it's onto Knebworth and a story of another inspirational lady.
She joined a delegation to rush the House of Commons
with lots of the other women.
Many of them were arrested, taken before the magistrates.
She wanted to be treated like one of the Suffragettes.
'And my Hertfordshire journey comes to an end in Perry Green,
'yet another famous home. That of the late Henry Moore,
'a Yorkshire man who settled here
'and became one of the world's most celebrated sculptors.'
And along the way, I'll be looking back at the best of the BBC's
rural programmes from this part of the world.
This is Country Tracks.
'Much of Hertfordshire is part of the London commuter belt.
'I'm less than 30 miles away from Marble Arch right now.
'But parts of it are very rural.
'Huge areas of this home county are given over to agriculture.'
This was once an arable field
and you could be forgiven for thinking that it still is.
But in fact, it's England's largest new native forest.
Or at least it will be.
'Give it a couple of hundred years
'and Heartwood Forest will be a dense, diverse woodland.
'It's a major project.
'At the helm is Louise Neicho from The Woodland Trust.'
It seems such a contrast. In here, established woodland
and out there, to me, it looks like arable fields.
Well, it is at the moment.
One of the reasons we bought the land in this location
is because of these pieces of ancient woodland.
Ancient woodland means it's been around for at least 400 years.
So the equivalent to our rainforest in the UK, basically.
And very few left in Britain today.
Something like 2% of the landmass in the UK is ancient woodland.
That's all that's left. And they are actually still being destroyed.
So one of the things this project will do is buffer it
and extend these pieces of ancient woodland.
We can never replace them, but we will be able to protect them.
So, Louise, why is the forest being planted here?
The Woodland Trust have been looking for a large site
in the south of England to create a really big project
that would have a huge impact on wildlife, as well as people.
So one of the reasons it's right here in Hertfordshire,
in St Albans, is that.
It must be pretty expensive land in the southeast of England.
It is, but we've got a very good reason for choosing it.
Within a 15-mile radius,
there's over two million people we can connect with.
We probably could've bought a piece of land the same size
in Scotland or Wales, but it wouldn't have had the same impact
in terms of people engagement, getting people involved.
That's what the project's all about.
It's going to take us 8-10 years to plant the forest.
We could probably do it quicker if we did it with contractors.
We could probably do it cheaper. That's not what we want.
We want a community forest that people really feel a part of
and really want to get connected with.
So, where does this new forest fit into the bigger woodland picture?
Believe it or not, the UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe.
There's about 12% of woodland cover.
With an average in Europe of about 44%, which is quite incredible.
So one of the aims in The Woodland Trust
is to double woodland's native cover in the UK in the next 50 years.
'That's a big ambition indeed.
'But Louise tells me that here in Hertfordshire at least,
'there's an army of eager volunteers
'bringing determination and passion to this project.'
The Woodland Trust are planting 600,000 trees
across nearly 900 acres.
And what's even more impressive is that every single sapling
is being planted by hand, by volunteers.
No machines, no contractors, just a lot of goodwill.
What's in the line-up?
Today, we've got white willow, spindle, purging buckthorn,
wayfaring tree, blackthorn, hazel,
hawthorn, ash, field maple,
rowan, hornbeam, goat willow and an oak.
You passed the test! You got them all!
-That's quite a variety, isn't it?
And any particular order? Are they all going in today?
Yeah. They'll all be going in today,
but what we try to do is get the tall species, so the oak,
the ash, the hornbeam, in the centre of the woodland.
That will create the forest.
But, then, along the edges, we want to create woodland edge habitat.
That's where the hedging-type shrub species go in,
such as the hawthorn and blackthorn.
I think you'd better put me to work.
-There's trees to go in.
This ground is incredibly tough, isn't it?
It is jolly hard, isn't it?
We've got to get down deep enough for these roots.
You've got to go as long as the roots?
As long as the root, yes.
And if you pick a tree with a big, wide spread of root,
then you've got to dig a big, wide hole.
I think I've got loads of flint in here.
I think we've got a Roman road under here somewhere.
There has been Roman occupation on this ground,
but now we're not going to interfere with that.
It's all about the trees now.
All about the trees and the people and the nature
and the flowers and the mosses
and the butterflies and the everythings.
-Have you got a favourite tree?
-No, I haven't.
It just happens to be the one I'm looking at sometimes.
They all have different characteristics.
-So you like them all, then?
-I do, yes.
-That's not deep enough.
This is going to take me a while.
Yes, I think we're onto a job here.
So, have you been up here in all weathers?
Yes. And believe me, some of the all weathers were all weather.
-Were they really?
-I'm ready. How about you, Pat?
Well, I think so. I've got a nice little rough bit at the bottom there.
-Let's see what we can do.
-It's looking good.
-Oh, perfect. Perfect!
Lovely soil, you see. It's nice and crumbly, isn't it?
It may have been hard to dig,
but it's beautifully crumbly to put back in.
-Right, what's next?
-Here we've got an oak for you.
These are supposed to be the hardest ones.
They can be. Some of the roots are quite big.
-Mind how you go.
-Oh, this ground is brutal!
So, a good way to see if your roots are going to fit in that hole is...
We often tell the children this.
Put your hands across like that,
and if the palm of your hand hits the ground,
you know that your hole is going to be deep enough.
Mine's actually not quite there!
I've only gone about halfway, so...
That was a disappointing exercise. Keep going.
How long until it starts to look like a forest and feel like it?
Between 8-12 years. The trees will be above your head.
You will start to feel like you're in a forest.
So it's quite quickly.
That's much quicker than I expected, actually.
The people who've volunteered will see some fruits of their labour.
Yeah. Absolutely. Particularly the schoolchildren.
I often say to them, when you're going off to uni,
when you're getting married, come and see it.
-It will be a woodland by then, which I think is fantastic.
'Heartwood Forest may need a helping hand to get started,
'but nature will soon take over and the land will become wild once more.
'In other parts of Hertfordshire, Mother Nature is being shaped,
'sculpted and styled.
'And Alan Titchmarsh knows a thing or two about that.'
In 1625, Francis Bacon wrote,
"God Almighty first planted a garden.
"And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures."
'The century was one of massive change.
'Six monarchs, a civil war, the Puritans and the Plague.
'Garden design reacted to these social changes in a dramatic way.
'The garden became a refuge of order and calm.
'An opportunity to control nature in a chaotic world.'
It was a time when Britain began to garden for pride,
not just for purpose.
Hatfield House in Hertfordshire
is, for me, a fine example of this new passion for the aesthetic.
'From 1497 until the early 1600s,
'Hatfield had been a royal garden.
'The old palace still remains in the grounds.
'Elizabeth I grew up here
'and first learned she was to be Queen under Hatfield's old oaks.
'Her successor, King James I,
'planted these mulberry trees to help kick-start the silk trade.
'But it was Sir Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury
'who, in 1608, took over the estate and built the large Jacobean house,
'around which, the famous gardens were designed.
'Unlike many of the estates from this period, Hatfield is unique.
'Because here, you find a century's worth of ideas in one place.
'Whether it's the innovative use of the hedge...
'..an obsession with sculpted topiary,
'fruit trees that are both ornamental and functional
'or the clever use of perspective,
'these are some of the classic ideas of the time.
'But cleverly adapted, they can suit any contemporary garden.
'Now, there's one thing you can't escape at Hatfield.
'Something that goes on and on for 26 miles.
'Much underrated today, it was a revolutionary design feature then.
'What I particularly like about Hatfield
'is that it has four gardens set around the house.
'And by looking at each one, we can actually see
'how the role of the hedge evolved across the century.
'No other garden I know can show this.
'Hatfield's private archive offers the key to how it all began.'
This is one of the very earliest gardening manuals.
One of the first to be published, in 1594, by Thomas Hill.
It's called The Gardener's Labyrinth.
And it's dedicated to Lord Sir William Cecil,
the father of Robert Cecil, who made this garden.
So you can tell how old it is.
In it, wonderful, wonderful pages
of patterns for you to copy, all of knots.
If you have a formal part in your garden
and you want to know how it came about,
then the answer is that it probably had its ancestors in Tudor times,
almost 500 years ago, in a knot garden like this one at Hatfield.
No flowers in this part.
Clipped box or Santolina, cotton lavender, was the height of fashion.
Woven into these intricate shapes, or knots.
'Up to this point, hedges were grown high to protect man from danger.
'Now they were clipped low and designed to compliment
'the architecture of the house.
'But the English knot was to go out of fashion during the 17th century.
'The French thought they could do better,
'so they created a larger and grander version, the parterre.
'It became a gardening must-have.
'And at Hatfield, it appeared on the south side of the garden.
'Like the knot, the parterre is a symmetrical formal garden
'with a box-hedge border and a pattern within.
'But it's more extensive than the knot
'and the hedge is shaped into elaborate curves and curlicues.
'But this was just the start.
'By now, Britain's landed gentry were travelling abroad
'and being exposed to new plants and ideas.
'The designers at Hatfield saw how these could work with the hedge
'and created a new formal garden in the east parterre.
'As the century progressed, the role of the hedge changed further.
'You can see how in Hatfield's west parterre.'
So this really, then, David, is the final development of the parterre.
Yes. I mean, the garden still had the formality,
the sharp lines, crispness,
but inside the beds was quite chaotic in some ways.
So all that remained of that parterre is the shape of the beds
and one or two lumps of box and yew topiary.
But, inside the beds, this effusion, this ebullience,
this complete organised chaos, if you like.
-Why did this happen?
-Plants were a lot more important in them days.
We now have plants introduced almost weekly.
But of course, in them days, they weren't.
They were being brought from all over the world.
And the more important plants you had, the more important your garden was.
So this was the ultimate in showing off?
Exactly. And that's what these gardens were for.
'Here we can see how the role of the hedge has evolved into what it is today.
'What began as a focus, gradually retreated to become a boundary,
'a framework for our gardens.
'We owe its evolution to the 17th century.'
Alan Titchmarsh exploring the roots of gardening at Hatfield House.
I've headed northeast to Scott's Grotto in Ware.
It's a bizarre and beautiful place.
Behind a door on an ordinary residential street,
lies an extraordinary link with Hertfordshire's highfalutin past.
It's the biggest grotto in England.
Built in the 1760s by a Quaker poet called John Scott,
it's as stunning as it is strange.
"Grotto" is said to come from the word "grotesque",
and they were originally fashionable in Italy as places to go on balmy days.
But since we don't have that problem in Britain,
John Scott built it as a place to show off to his guests.
When Dr Johnson visited, he declared the place "the perfect habitation for a toad".
It is feeling a bit damp so I'll get my coat on.
Not only is it cold, but it's dark and empty.
No-one is certain why John Scott built such an intricate network of tunnels.
One theory is he was a great philanthropist
and the grotto was a job creation scheme.
On the other hand, it may have been the ultimate fashion statement.
After all, how many people could boast an underground treasure trove in the garden?
It's funny. These dark, flint-lined corridors
give me that slightly claustrophobic feeling.
It's 30 feet underground here, so that's not helping much.
I feel like I'm having to talk myself down a little bit.
These warm-water shells were originally brought
in the ballast of ships returning from the New World.
There's some from the Indian Ocean, some from the Caribbean.
There are some whopper barnacles up on the roof
and the whole grotto was restored in 1990 after a campaign to save it in the 1980s -
to bring back John Scott's vision from 250 years ago.
It's widely agreed that John Scott's poetry wasn't that good.
His grotto is certainly more famous than his work.
One writer who did make a huge difference
to the world of literature was EM Forster,
and the house which inspired his classic, Howards End, is not far away.
The inspiration for EM Forster's literary classic, Howards End.
Published in 1910, it's the story of three different families
from three different classes of English Edwardian society.
The setting is Howards End,
the house that connects all the characters in the book.
And the inspiration for Howards End, EM Forster's own childhood home, Rooks Nest.
"It is old and little and altogether delightful. Red brick,
"and standing on the boundary between the garden and the meadow."
'Margaret Ashby is a local author and expert on EM Forster.'
So, this is Howards End?
This is the original Howards End of EM Forster's novel.
He spent his childhood here, from the years of four to 14.
Loved the place and said he never wanted to leave it.
His father died, so the widow, Mrs Forster, decided she wanted to live in the country.
She brought her little boy here and we know from his letters
and his mother's letters,
how important the house was. At one point he called it,
"My abiding city."
There were two central elements to EM Forster's childhood -
one, his mother, and the other, this house. I want to go inside.
"To be parted from your house. It oughtn't to be allowed.
"It is worse than dying."
This a complicated family saga
involving three groups of people from differing classes
and the house is the place where these three classes come together,
That is absolutely right.
It's very clever of Forster to make this happen.
It's leading towards his vision of an England
in which there is no separation,
that we don't have division by class.
But, for Forster, this novel is about more than connecting the classes.
The idea of connection is explored on many levels.
Something that was important in his literature but also in his personal life.
Adrian Barlow from the Institute Of Continuing Education at Cambridge University
has spent years studying Forster - his life and work.
Adrian, Forster's connection with the house is very clear.
But the idea of connection, connecting, is key to the novel.
I mean, there on the title page are the words "Only connect!..."
"Only connect!" - dot-dot-dot.
That leaves the way open for a discussion of exactly what he's trying to connect.
Whether it's an individual level, a social level, or even a political or ecological level.
In Howards End, what are the key connections?
The connections between the families - the Wilcoxes, the Schlegels and the Basts.
But, more importantly, a connection between the city and the country,
between past and present, and a sense that the world is changing very rapidly,
or is on the verge of changing very rapidly,
and we mustn't lose a sense of where we're coming from or going to.
"In these English farms, one might see life steadily and see it as a whole.
"Connect, until all men are brothers."
Was he, from childhood onwards, trying to make connections personally?
He was someone who valued friendship enormously,
but found friendship very difficult.
He was someone who, because of his sexual orientation,
found a position in society on one hand quite difficult to establish,
but on the other hand, found it something he wanted to be honest and open about.
Once he became emotionally connected, he stopped writing.
After the 1920s, where he's established the relationships
which will sustain him for the rest of his life,
the imperative to keep writing fiction disappears.
It would've been better for literature if he hadn't found happiness!
That would've been unfair on Forster.
"Only connect!... Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted.
"Live in fragments no longer."
The book ends on an optimistic note. Spring has arrived, there's going to be a marvellous crop of hay,
and the families are connected through birth and marriage to their beloved Howards End.
Gyles Brandreth at Howards End.
I'm near Hatfield on the next leg of my journey, at the home of another famous author.
Far more prolific than Forster,
and some might say, more widely enjoyed.
EM Forster wanted to connect, and the writer that lived in this house wrote hundreds of books
and connected with a massive worldwide readership.
She was the one and only Barbara Cartland.
She was the queen of romance. Her first book, Jig-Saw, was published in 1925
and she went on to write another 643 romance novels.
She died in 2000 at the age of 98,
leaving 160 unpublished manuscripts.
Her son, Ian McCorquodale has christened them, "The Pink Collection"
and Barbara Cartland fans all over the world are reading new stories
more than ten years after her death.
I'm privileged to be here, getting a rare insight
into the real world of Barbara Cartland with her son Ian, who still lives on the estate today.
Ian, we're in the very room that your mother used to write in.
Indeed, and welcome to Camfield Place...
-..the home of Barbara Cartland
and the romance capital of the world.
All romantic things happen in this house and in this room, my mother wrote all her wonderful books...
-Tell me how the room was arranged?
-..lying on the sofa there, just behind us.
The secretary was sitting behind her.
She didn't like to see them, cos she said they always fidgeted.
-Yes, there was a tape recorder behind her so not a word was missed.
In two hours, she always started at half-past one, having had lunch,
and she would write up to 8,000 words. It was a chapter in a book.
Most journalists can manage about 1,000 words now.
But she could write 8,000 words in two hours.
-That's incredibly fast.
-She could write a book in a fortnight.
That was one of the great things about Barbara Cartland.
She said, "When you're a writer, don't wait for the muse to arrive, sucking your pencil,
"cos the muse never comes. Writing is a discipline.
"You start at 1.30, not 1.35 or 1.40. You start at 1.30 and get on with it."
How do you fit them all into the library here, all these books?
We can't fit them all here. That shelf over there
are the original English language first-edition Barbara Cartlands as they came out.
But she was translated into 38 different languages,
and the library is not big enough for all those books.
-They're in boxes all over the estate.
Do you know how many of her books were sold?
We reckon, and we're never quite sure about these things,
she's sold over a billion copies, a thousand-million books in her lifetime.
-That must be a record.
-She's up there with the Bible.
-It is! How extraordinary.
People's hunger for romance in life, I suppose.
-Were they always happy endings?
-Always happy endings. She did write one book,
which had an unhappy ending,
and it was a disaster because all her fans from all over the world sent her telegrams and letters,
"Please, please, let Amy..." - the girl's name - "..marry the hero!"
Cos she went into a convent and he went off on a big, white charger.
That was a great mistake.
So when the book was reprinted, she changed it all around and they had a happy ending after all!
She said, after that experience, "I'm never going to write a book with an unhappy ending."
Every one's got to be a Barbara Cartland happy ending.
Barbara herself found true love in 1936, when she married Ian's father, Hugh.
It was her second marriage and they had 27 happy years together.
Hugh died in 1963 and Barbara never remarried.
What was it like for you, being the son of Barbara Cartland? She was so famous.
It was great. We used to do everything together.
People always ask me, how did your mother find time, being so busy -
she was an incredibly busy person - to look after the children?
She always found time as she'd write in the afternoon. Tea-time was children's time.
Then my father would come back from the office and she'd look after him.
She had a great adage - "If you want to get something done, ask a busy person."
-Did your father read many of her books, or any of her books?
-I don't think he read one of them.
-It wasn't quite his style of literature.
He liked war books.
She wrote in this beautiful room in this gorgeous house, in lovely grounds.
-Was the countryside, the Hertfordshire countryside, important to her?
-Very important to her.
She used to sit in the drawing room looking out over the garden.
She loved the garden. She used to walk around it. Whatever time of the year, the garden looks different.
She loved the garden. She liked to commune with nature.
She loved the Hertfordshire countryside and she loved Hertfordshire too.
This is Jig-Saw.
It's Barbara Cartland's first romantic novel, published in 1925 when she was only 24 years old.
"It was early April, one of those fresh spring days when the air itself
"seems to glitter in the sunshine.
"The new green of the trees shines almost transparent,
"as the sea in the early morning or a Scotch burn trickling over rocks and fells.
"The slight wind was whispering of adventures."
Barbara Cartland spent many happy hours in this garden, walking her dogs
and thinking up ever new and exciting stories.
If she sat long enough, she may have caught a glimpse of a new visitor to Hertfordshire.
Miriam O'Reilly certainly did.
Grey squirrels have been a part of our landscape
ever since the 19th century when they were first introduced from North America.
They may be endearing, but they're running riot amongst our woodlands, eating our flowers
and more alarmingly, they're carrying a deadly pox
which is threatening to wipe out our native red squirrel population.
To try and stop them, landowners have resorted to culling large numbers of greys.
But it now seems they have company.
Up until now, the grey squirrel has dominated the species,
but a newcomer has arrived.
It's black, it's fast and it could overtake the greys.
The first black squirrel was reported to have been sighted in Hertfordshire in 1912.
Since then, they've spread into other areas
and their numbers have been increasing over the years.
I've never seen a black squirrel before,
but apparently they can be spotted here,
in the town of Hitchin in Hertfordshire,
especially in this churchyard.
I'm here bright and early to see if I can spot any,
and joining me is local ecologist, Brian Sawford,
who's been studying and photographing black squirrels for years.
Were you surprised when you saw your first one?
Certainly was. The first thing that went through my mind,
"There's a squirrel, it's gone down a chimney and got covered in soot."
But I soon realised it was in fact a black squirrel,
and that was in excess of 30 years ago.
Where do the black squirrels hail from originally?
They came from North America.
That is their native territory.
And in North America there's quite a lot of black variants
amongst the greys.
We weren't sure we would actually see any on this cold morning
but we hung around the graveyard for a couple of hours,
and it turned out to be worth the wait.
There's one just over there,
just coming down from the tree. Feeding.
It's really pretty.
It's so cute.
It is very fluffy looking, very black.
It's got its winter coat on.
In the summer they are rather less fluffy, particularly on the tail.
There's another one over there.
Yes, that is slightly larger.
Notice it's much more chocolate brown in colouration.
-Does that mean it is older?
It is running now to join the other one.
They are playing up the tree.
Exactly the same as the grey squirrels,
they'll chase around like that.
There is no real antagonism between
the two individuals, they're just chasing.
It is believed black squirrels now make up about half
the entire squirrel population in parts of Hertfordshire.
Two years ago, Helen McRobie carried out the first UK study
into their unique colour.
We were looking at the genetics
of the grey squirrel and the black squirrel,
looking for the genetic difference,
and what we found out was that the black squirrel
has got a big chunk of DNA missing from the gene for fur colour.
The jet black squirrel has got two copies of that mutated gene,
so it's mum and its dad
both have this genetic mutation.
Are there any other differences, apart from colour?
There is a little bit of evidence
this gene could be involved in improving their immunity
so they might be better able to survive.
In northern Scotland, the largest mammal cull ever is underway
to stop grey squirrels from wiping out our native reds.
But are the black ones as much of a threat?
Do the black squirrels carry the squirrel pox as well?
In every way that we know,
they are exactly the same as the greys in that way.
They totally interbreed, they are the same species,
and as far as we know they carry the disease as well.
Are they the same species as the red squirrel?
Now, the red squirrel is a totally different species of squirrel.
They are smaller and they have got tufty ears.
They have a more specialised diet. They tend to eat nuts,
whereas the grey squirrel,
including the black squirrel because they are the same species,
will eat a much wider range of food,
which means they are better able to survive, really.
They are less fussy.
We also did some research to see if this black squirrel
was the same as the black squirrel in America,
and we found the genetic mutation is exactly the same.
So it seems these black ones started off in America
and somebody has brought them over and released them into Britain.
As of yet, black squirrels
haven't spread further north than Cambridgeshire.
The latest estimates suggest there might be
as many as 25,000 black squirrels in England today.
If their numbers continue to increase,
then, like the greys, they might pose problems in future,
but for now, these little fellows are really quite fun to watch.
Miriam O'Reilly on the trail of the black squirrel.
I've moved on from Barbara Cartland's magnificent country house
and headed north to another Hertfordshire pile, Knebworth.
The house was first built in 1490,
but the grand, Gothic appearance we see now
dates from the early 1800s.
It has long held royal connections.
Queen Elizabeth I was a visitor here in 1571.
These days, Knebworth is just as famous
for hosting the kings and queens of rock.
# Look me up in the Yellow Pages
# I will be your rock of ages
# Your see-through fads and your crazy phrases, yeah. #
I'm here to investigate the story of a woman who, in her day,
was every bit as rebellious as Robbie Williams.
Her name was Lady Constance Lytton,
the third child of the 1st Earl of Lytton.
She was born in 1869,
had a kind and intelligent nature,
and was dearly loved by her family.
She was a gifted writer and journalist,
spent many years caring for her widowed mother, and never married.
She had fallen in love
with a career soldier called John Ponsonby,
but her family did not approve the match,
and she accepted their decision.
Constance was gentle and dutiful, frail even.
So it makes it all the more surprising
that in 1906, at the age of 39,
she became a Suffragette.
The Suffragettes wanted votes for women and penal reform
and Constance was ripe for a cause.
Archivist Clare Fleck has spent many hours researching her story.
So, Clare, why did Constance become a Suffragette?
She was introduced to the cause by Mrs Pethick Lawrence,
a notable lady in the cause.
And she considered it very carefully,
and decided this was something she could support, a very valid cause.
What did her particular arm of the Suffragettes do?
She joined the WSPU, the Women's Social and Political Union,
which was the militant arm of the Suffragettes,
rather than the Suffragists who held meetings and rallies and lectures,
but they didn't actually indulge in militant action.
So what did Constance do, by way of protest?
She joined a delegation to rush the House of Commons,
with lots of the other women.
Many of them were arrested, taken before the magistrates,
and sent to Holloway.
But as Lady Constance Lytton, she was given special treatment.
She wanted to be treated like one of the ordinary Suffragettes,
but as an aristocratic lady she had a medical check,
her weak heart was detected,
and in fact she was put on a hospital wing, rather than in the cells.
And this wasn't what she wanted.
She actually protested
and asked to be put on the ordinary cells with the Suffragettes
which she achieved for the last few days of her imprisonment.
How did she go from being treated well in prison
to really tough prison?
She didn't really see the real side of prison
until she took drastic action of her own.
After two lots of fairly gentle imprisonment,
she took herself off to Liverpool,
joined a demonstration there,
disguised her appearance,
she wore a very cheap coat,
had her hair cut in a very unattractive way,
wore very uncomfortable eyeglasses,
and as just Jane Wharton, a poor seamstress,
she had no special treatment.
She didn't have a medical inspection,
and went on to the ordinary wing with the ordinary Suffragettes,
as third-degree prisoners.
And what kind of treatment did they get in prison?
After a few days they went on hunger strike to make their point,
and were brutally force-fed after hunger striking for a few days.
-Which was a brutal process.
She wrote about her experiences in prison, didn't she?
She did. She wrote a very moving book called Prison And Prisoners.
She does say a little bit in here about the process of force-feeding.
-Shall I read a bit?
-Please do, yes.
"Two of the wardresses took hold of my arms, one held my head,
"one my feet. The doctor lent on my knees
"as he stooped over my chest to get at my mouth.
"I shut my mouth and clenched my teeth.
"The sense of being overpowered
"by more force than I could possibly resist was complete.
"But I resisted with nothing except my mouth."
It goes on but it is fairly graphic.
-Gracious, it's brutal treatment, isn't it?
-It is, yes.
She wasn't particularly strong, wasn't made of stern stuff, physically.
No. Afterwards, the doctor said
it was one of the worst cases of force-feeding he'd seen
and she was nearly asphyxiated each time.
She suffered that eight times before they rumbled her
and realised she wasn't who she said she was and she was released.
-She did her time then, didn't she?
And did she ever get to see women getting the vote?
She saw the extension of the suffrage in 1918,
but she herself died in 1923,
which was before the complete suffrage of women which came in 1928.
But very much a part of the cause.
"February 6, 1918.
"Four years after the publication of my book
"by the Representation of the People Act
"about six million women of 30 years of age and over
"obtained the parliamentary vote."
Being a Suffragette and early feminist
placed not only great emotional and social demands on its supporters,
but also great physical demands.
And I consider myself to be a feminist,
and I would love to think
that I would suffer as much for such an important cause,
but I couldn't be sure.
What amazing women.
Constance experienced the best and worst
of early 20th-century prison treatment.
Dan Snow has been investigating some of the tactics used
in medieval crime and punishment.
A fortress, a royal palace, and even a zoo.
Over the centuries,
the storehouse of the Crown Jewels has had many purposes.
It is most famous as a prison,
but in fact only the highest status prisoners ever got sent to the tower.
And really, until the 19th century,
the idea of prison as punishment was quite unusual.
It was just a safe place to keep them until they could stand trial.
But away from the Tower, right across the country in medieval England,
criminals were punished by humiliation.
In 1351 it became the law that every town and village
should have a set of stocks.
Now, you could be locked here in the stocks for crimes
such as swearing, drunkenness, or homelessness.
Then people come along and laugh at you
and even pelt you with whatever came to hand.
Mountfitchet Castle in Hertfordshire is a re-creation of a Norman village.
Curator Jeremy Goldsmith
believes the period was a high point for humiliating punishments.
Swearing would be one hour in the stocks.
Thieving could even have your hands chopped off.
They were mainly really for drunkenness, disorderly behaviour,
and then you were put in the stocks for maybe an hour, two hours,
even three days.
But you were at the mercy of the mob once you were in the stocks,
because you had your head and hands and feet chained down
and they could do anything.
Whipping. Flogging. Flagellation.
Some of the oldest forms of public punishment.
Boudicca was flogged by the Romans
and of course, sailors were flogged using one of these,
which is where we get the expression, "no room to swing a cat".
In 1530, Henry VIII's infamous Whipping Act
made it a particularly bad time to be homeless.
The act said that vagrants were to be carried to a market town
and tied to the end of a cart naked,
and were then to be beaten with whips
until their bodies were covered with blood.
Branding with a red-hot iron
meant that people were forever marked with their crime.
Often the first letter of that crime
was branded on the hands, chest and the forehead
so that people would always know what they had done.
17 years after the Whipping Act
branding became another punishment extended to the homeless.
Blacksmiths were also responsible for conjuring up this humiliating device.
It is called a scold's bridle,
it was designed to be worn round the head
with this bit covering the mouth.
It was to punish women who scolded or gossiped too much.
But in the mid-18th century, one mob attack
on criminals in the stocks was a prelude to huge social change.
Egan and Salmon were two highwaymen
and they were put in Smithfields stocks in 1751.
So quite late on, really.
And they were literally in there for two or three days,
and they were beaten to death.
So the punishment meted out by the public was final.
They obviously felt that passionate about it
that they pelted them with rocks and killed them.
The incident meant that as the century ended,
this kind of extreme public punishment was being questioned.
In the late-18th century, new ideas started to circulate through society.
They emphasise that everybody had rights
and should be treated with respect.
In this context, some of the older kinds of punishment seemed barbaric.
And new kinds of prisons were encouraged.
They started with the building of one
on the banks of the Thames here in 1816.
This was a prison which emphasised rehabilitation
and learning, not just punishment.
Dan Snow unearthing some grisly forms of punishment.
I've come to the final stop on my Hertfordshire journey.
After visiting the homes
of a romantic novelist and a political author,
I've arrived at yet another artist's residence.
I'm in Perry Green, the home of Henry Moore.
He was one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century.
He died in 1986,
but his reputation and his work has stood the test of time.
The Henry Moore Foundation was set up in 1977
to encourage appreciation of the visual arts, particularly sculpture,
and to preserve Moore's legacy at his Hertfordshire home.
Curator Anita Feldman has been working here for 15 years
which makes her something of an authority on all things Moore.
Anita, what's this sculpture called?
This is Two Piece Knife Edge
and its name comes from that very fine knife edge like a blade
which comes down through the middle of the sculpture.
And Moore really enjoyed the contrast between these very smooth surfaces
and very rough textures.
In 1951, a film-maker working for the BBC
obtained unprecedented access to the sculptor, his work and his studio.
The result was an intimate documentary which changed the way
television approached the arts
and changed the public perception of Moore himself.
'Henry Moore is the most important
'of living British sculptors.
'With the strange and impressive shapes that fill his studio,
'he picks up and carries on a tradition
'that has been extinct in England for 400 years,
'a tradition of expressiveness and truth to material.
'The studio is a workshop in which he turns his ideas into tangible forms.
'Here are Henry Moore's hands and his tools.
'Sculpture is the art of cutting,
'carving or modelling various materials
'such as the hard crystalline stone on the left
'or the stringy wood on the right.
'Stone is worked with chisels,
'each one giving a characteristic effect.
'Wood is worked in quite a different way and with different tools.
'But sculpture can be modelling as well as carving,
'building up as well as cutting away,
'and for this the artist uses clay, wax or plaster.
'Henry Moore often works out his ideas for metal figures
'by making small models in a softer pliable material
'before translating them into metal.'
It's quite unusual to get a great insight
into an artist's personal life,
but the documentary made about Moore was really quite in-depth.
Was that typical of his character, to allow that?
He was a very open, very humble person.
He welcomed visitors to his home
and his studios to look at his work.
He was always very engaging with students. He was never elitist.
He turned down a knighthood
and he came from a very working-class family,
from coal miners in the north of England.
So for him, I think he really wanted art to be a part of modern life
and a part of everyday life.
The central tradition of sculpture
is rooted in a primary respect for the materials of sculpture.
One can learn from all sorts of natural forms such as these.
Take, for instance, this stone.
It has a hole right through it.
It has a strong, slow structural rhythm
which perhaps shows nature's way of working stone.
A year before that film was made, Henry Moore was commissioned
to create a piece of art for the 1951 Festival of Britain.
The documentary captures the process involved with making the sculpture
and offers a fascinating insight into one of our greatest artists.
Moore's practice was to construct full-size plaster models
from which the mould could be made for casting.
'The completed model now had to be cast in bronze.
'At this stage, the skill of the artist
'depends upon the skill of the craftsmen
'who carry out his intentions.
'When the mould is finished, the wax evaporates
'in the heat of the kiln, leaving a cavity
'into which the metal can be poured.
'The molten bronze is lifted white-hot from the furnace.
'It must be poured quickly before it loses its temperature,
'and this calls for a precision of eye
'and deftness of handling that only come with long experience.
'It is part of a sculptor's trade to be able to conceive his work
'in forms that can be divided into sections for casting.
'The various sections are assembled and riveted together with great care.
'When it is finished, even an experienced sculptor
'would find it hard to discover where one section ends and the next begins.
'It was spring when the finished figure
'was returned to Moore's studio.
'After six months of intensive labour, a new work had been completed.
'Henry Moore's sculpture is at its best when seen in the light
'and setting in which it was born.'
The reclining figure was a form
that Moore returned to throughout his career.
A great example is a sculpture called Large Reclining Figure
which sits on the hill overlooking the sheep field in Perry Green.
Indoors, the Sheep Field Barn Gallery
is home to the first ever exhibition of Henry Moore's plasters.
It shows them as works of art in their own right,
not just as moulds for the more famous bronze sculptures.
Right after the weather,
I'll be finding out how this was sculpted with sheep in mind
and seeing the full-size bronze version just outside.
I'll also be meeting a man who worked very closely
with Henry Moore himself.
But first, here's the Country Tracks weather for the week ahead.
I'm on a journey through Hertfordshire.
I started near St Albans,
planting trees in the new Heartwood Forest
before heading to Scott's Grotto in Ware.
I visited the home of Barbara Cartland near Hatfield
and heard the fascinating story
of an aristocratic Suffragette at Knebworth.
My journey ends at the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green.
Henry Moore and his wife Irina moved here to Perry Green in 1940
when their home and studio in Hampstead was damaged in the Blitz.
Moore's work moulded beautifully into the surrounding landscape.
His sculpture Sheep Piece was designed to be decorated with sheep.
It was actually written into the lease that only sheep are allowed
to graze on this field because pigs and cows
would be all wrong for the art.
Henry Moore was persuaded to buy this land
by his friend Frank Farnham.
Frank's son John went on to become Moore's assistant
in the early 1960s.
Today he's back in Perry Green to remember his former boss.
John, what was your job for Henry Moore?
As an assistant, I suppose it was a bit of everything.
You would enlarge the sculptures for him, work with the foundries.
Also, the exhibitions, you used to have to compile
and travel with those.
-What was a typical working day like?
-Quite routine, really.
You'd start first thing in the morning.
There was always a break at 11 o'clock,
one o'clock and four o'clock for tea, coffee, lunch.
And what was Henry Moore like as a character?
He was quite easy as a person to work with.
As long as you got on with the work.
He'd always give you two or three jobs to do now,
but in the end, you'd have to say, well, which is the most important?
Because he would want everything done quickly.
And you just couldn't do everything quickly, especially these things.
-You were working on them for weeks on end.
-Was he a hard taskmaster?
-Not really. He was fine.
-A good boss?
And now this one's grounded right here in the landscape,
and what a cracker it is as well.
Yeah, this is a very nice piece. I like this piece.
It was an early piece that he'd done in '38 as a maquette
that was enlarged straight from the maquette to the size.
It's a work that as you walk around it, it becomes different.
You always see a different view whichever angle you look at it.
Up here on the skyline, it's a really nice site for it.
-It's a great viewing platform up here as well, isn't it?
-Nice place to sunbathe.
'My journeys on Country Tracks have explored'
some of the most beautiful landscapes in Britain,
but today's has been a different type of adventure,
a privileged peek through the keyholes of some amazing homes
and into the lives of those who've lived there,
characters who brought their talents to the countryside
and left a lasting impression on the Hertfordshire landscape.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Ellie Harrison peeks through the keyhole of some of Hertfordshire's homes and gardens. Her journey starts near St Albans planting trees for a forest of the future, before she heads over to Scott's Grotto in Ware, a puzzling remnant of 18th-century high society.
Ellie visits the gorgeous house where Barbara Cartland, queen of the romantic novel lived, before heading to Knebworth to learn the story of another inspirational lady.
Ellie's journey comes to an end in Perry Green, at the former Hertfordshire home of one of the world's most-celebrated sculptors - the late Henry Moore.