Clandeboye The Country House Revealed


Series exploring Britain's private country houses. Clandeboye is filled with artefacts found by Lord Dufferin on his travels, from stuffed bears to Egyptian monuments.

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Our great country houses, the most familiar and yet intriguing sights


Britain has to offer. Standing like sentinels in the landscape.


Hundreds of thousands of us visit them every year, but not all are


open to the public. I've been granted the privileged opportunity


to pass through the portals of six of our greatest country houses


They've seen five centuries of British history up close and


personal. The families who built these houses played their part in


Central to their dreams, the great house, the ultimate Status symbol,


but all too often also the ultimate Few of these families went the


distance, but their houses did, with their secrets intact. This is


their story, but it's also our story, for these houses offer a


guided tour of our nation's hidden I'm on my way to explore one of the


most fascinating country estates in Northern Ireland and I get there


The estate's secluded deep in the farmlands and woodlands of County


Down. It's called Clandeboye and, rather conveniently, the railway


station was constructed within its ground. Ah, here it is, Helen's Bay.


See? Very convenient. The station was built in 1863 by the family


living at Clandeboye, the Dufferins. Up there are the family's initials,


together with a coronet. The station's a charming ornamental


structure and it contained not only the booking office, but also a


private waiting room for the Dufferins, with a staircase leading


Waiting in the avenue would be a horse-drawn carriage, ready to


transport the family to Clandeboye House. The carriage would pass


below this wonderful bridge, a sensational thing which to me looks


rather like a medieval city gate, This portal takes me to the past in


Ah, here it is, Clandeboye, a very handsome, late Georgian country


house. It's one I've known for well over 30 years. I spent some most


astonishing times here. Indeed, this walk for me is very much a


Clandeboye has belonged to the same family for 400 years. Today, the


marchioness of Dufferin and Ava lives here. Born into in the Irish


aristocratic family, the Guinness's, she moved here in 1964 when she


married Sheridan, the fifth marquis, Lady Dufferin also happens to be a


very old friend of mine. Yes, please. So, it's so wonderful that


you're back. Back here, yes, at Clandeboye. It is wonderful to be


back home. Fantastic actually. Now, I tell you what, I don't think you


can resist a sandwich, can you? no, I can't resist a sandwich. Oh,


look, they're very lovely. There we are. Beautifully presented. It's a


tradition. Yes. I'll take that one. Actually, very often I make people


eat two at a time. I can't remember exactly when I first visited


Clandeboye, it was so long ago. But Lindy may have solved the mystery.


I've got this treat, because we can now find out when you first came


here. Yes, all right. Here we go. This is the guest book? OK. Now,


we'll put our specs on. So here we go. Now, putting them... Harry.


What's the first one? What's the first date here? 1931? Isn't that's


amazing? Incredible. Ulster Races and who was here? Evelyn Waugh,


look, that's interesting. Evelyn Waugh, yes. Actually, he was a


great friend of the family's, I think he came here quite often.


Let's leap forward a bit to, I suppose, let's find you, when did


you first come to the house? I can hardly remember. We think 1961.


Lindy Guinness, you're here. Yes, you see, I think I came. That's


1963. A hoolie for Sheridan and Lindy. Here we are again. Look,


look. David Bailey and you. Oh, he was divine. No, where do we go? I'm


longing to find you. Cruickshank. But that's weird.


Gotcha! That's my name, it's not my signature. I wasn't here. I bet it


is, you were drunk. I wasn't here! This is weird. You were drunk when


you wrote it. Well, I'm mostly drunk but... Think it must be.


Where? Where? Where? Where? Where? Where? Where? Where? Where?


Christmas 1975. No there, there, gotcha! That's more like it. Now


that's how long ago? 75, 85, 95, 105, do you realise that's 35 years.


It's 35 years ago. That's a sobering thought and I must say you


look wonderful on it, if you don't mind me saying so. It's the whiskey.


You're desperate to have some more.. I see you through sort of a Yeah,


through. But mainly myth. Yeah, but once or twice. Clandeboye, under


Lindy and Sheridan, became a magnet for artists and writers. It was a


bohemian scene that would have surely have startled Sheridan's


ancestors, the sober and very sensible Blackwood's. They were


Scots Protestants who originally came to County Down in the early


17th century and rose to become minor gentry. They marked this


ascent with a massive expansion of their house in 1801 by a little


I'm now in a part of the house built just after 1800, very elegant


but somewhat conventional late Ah, here are the Blackwoods and I


must say these portraits them to be a somewhat serious bunch not, I


should think, given to flights of In fact, one of the Blackwoods


admitted they had no interest in art and literature and even that


they regarded imagination as a Given their lack of imagination,


the Blackwoods would surely have been horrified by what was about to


happen to their house. They remain in a part of Clandeboye that's


largely untouched, but elsewhere that's very definitely not the case.


This house was radically transformed and the front door was


moved to the rear and this is where I've explored many country houses


over the years, but I must say the main entrance to Clandeboye is


still the strangest I've ever seen. It's so understated, just a low,


long blank wall and then a very But the moment you step inside, it


Open the door is like breaking the seal on an Egyptian tomb. This is


high architectural theatre everywhere, wonderful and revealing


objects. Look at this pair of bears, baby bears, killed and stuffed; and


here, Indian weapons and armour, Burmese celestial figures all


telling a tale about the house and Utterly incredible. If a tropical


bird flew past now, I wouldn't be This is the world of Frederick Lord


Dufferin, one of the greatest diplomats of his age, viceroy of


India and friend of Queen Victoria. This house is an embodiment of his


achievements. It is also a melancholic monument to the


declining fortune of his class, the Lord Dufferin transformed


Clandeboye into a fairytale. The house is a journey through his life,


through his age, to the imperial adventure. There are wonderful


objects everywhere which unite to tell the story of one exceptional


This exceptional man was always destined to be different from his


staid ancestors. In 1825, his father, Price, the fourth Lord


Dufferin, shocked the rest of the Blackwoods by marrying the


granddaughter of the celebrated Irish playwright, Richard Brinsley


Helen Sheridan was artistic and an accomplished society beauty. Her


world was of fashionable London, Beaumond. She was everything the


A year after her marriage to Price Blackwood, Helen gave birth to


their only child, a son, Frederick, and here is a lovely little


portrait of a young chap aged four or five, painted by Helen. Very


wonderfully done, and behind it is a lock of hair, Frederick's hair,


This hair was cut by Helen to send to Price. He was Royal Navy, away


from home a lot. This was a little reminder of his infant child and


that hair and portrait were later united to create this very intimate,


Helen's ambitions for her son were always high. As was usual at the


time, she looked across the Irish Sea to England for his future. She


wanted him to be groomed for high public office, to make the right


And there was nowhere better to do that than at Eton, the finishing


school of choice for the aristocratic elite. In 1839, when


Frederick first arrived, Eton had already produced an astonishing ten


Prime Ministers and it had even won the Battle of Waterloo on its


playing fields, according to old Here, at the heart of the British


power network, Helen hoped her son Graffiti and boys have been around.


Doctor Andrew Gaily, the vice provost of Eton, is writing a


biography of Lord Dufferin. Like his subject, Andrew comes from


Eton, I suppose, was the obvious place to send Frederick. Well, yes,


and no. I mean, yes, if you've got ambitions to make something great


in England, not necessarily in Ireland at the time. In fact, most


boys would have just probably gone locally, but if you have ambitions


to acquire, as they say, a bit of the polish and certainly provincial


Blackwoods were quite interested in acquiring a bit of the polish, Eton


was the place to go. To make connections, of course, that's the


thing, isn't it? To move into the big world, to make the connections,


to learn about a world that you're going to have to operate in and if


you wanted to be up with that and in that social world, then you had


So his background, when he arrived at Eton, would he have had a very


His father describes him as being all hunched up in his early days at


Eton, and he was probably a bit bullied too and then it all comes


good. He's managed to use his Irishness to effect. Yeah, and he


was good at speaking, you know, an orator. He obviously, you know, had


some distinction. Very much, and he would be the one that, whenever the


house was having a great feast or a great celebration, they would call


on the little orator, as they called him, to go and declaim and


it, you know, became an art form for the rest of his life and,


indeed, probably one of his His mother's little orator was now


in the charmed inner circle of Eton life, forming close friendships


with the men who would run Britain The British aristocracy was at the


zenith of its power, owning over half the land in Britain, and


nothing symbolised their grip on the nation more than the great


Places like Hatfield House, owned by the family of Frederick's Eton


friend, Lord Robert Cecil and Kimberley Hall, the home of his


classmate John Woodhouse, the At Eton, Frederick must have fully


grasped the notion that behind And he was to have his own estate


sooner than anyone imagined. One evening at the end of term,


Frederick was on the bridge, just stood here, and suddenly turned to


a friend that was with him and said, "It's odd, I have every reason to


be happy. Tomorrow, I return to Ireland, and yet I feel wretched".


What Frederick did not know was that an hour earlier, his father


had died on a ship crossing the Irish Sea. The father died of an


overdose of morphine. Whether or not it was an accident was never


determined. Suddenly, Frederick, at the tender age of 15, was


fatherless and also had inherited the heavy responsibility of being a


Frederick Temple Blackwood was now the fifth Baron Dufferin and


Clandeboye. On paper, he was a rich man. He's inherited 18,000 Acres of


In reality, his tenants were in arrears to the tune of almost


�30,000. That's over �2 million today. And on top of that, he'd


also inherited a financial obligation to pay another �30,000


in annuities to his family, the The young lord was forced to face


the bitter truth, agriculture no Landlords in Ireland, such as Lord


Dufferin, would have made much of their money through rents paid by


peasant farmers who lived in cottages rather like this one. In


mid-19th century Ireland, there were such cottages all over the


landscape, huge numbers of them. This one actually is a rather large


and grand example. Many would have been much smaller, more humble.


This one, well built of stones from the fields, I suppose, but inside


75% of Ireland's rural population lived in hovels like this, with a


patch of ground so small there was only one crop they could grow to


That was the staple diet for the real poor, the potato, a very


nutritious food but very vulnerable to disease, and that's what


happened in 1845, a fungus blighted the potatoes. They blackened and


died in the land and one blight followed by another and another, so


that the population of the land was almost literally decimated and


Lord Dufferin was studying at oxford, but reports started to


trickle in, the Irish peasantry were starving. He was dismayed at


the indifference of his English friends, who dismissed the stories


So, to his mother's horror, Lord Dufferin and a fellow student,


George Boyle, went to Ireland to This is the road the 21 year old


Lord Dufferin took when he entered Skibbereen in the south west of


Ireland. He came here because he'd read this was one of the places


hardest hit by the famine. He wanted to see if the reports of the


suffering of the people of Skibbereen were true. Lord Dufferin


soon discovered things were very bad. In these streets, people were


crawling, they didn't have the energy to walk. Or lying here by


the roadside, quietly dying. To try and prick the conscience of his


well-fed friends back in England, Lord Dufferin wrote a graphic


account of what was called the great hunger. Today, he's still


Now, the thing about Dufferin's visit and the narrative was to


alert people back in England, because in England there was almost


disbelief, wasn't there, at the seriousness of the famine in '47?


Yes. There was perhaps a reluctance to believe it was so bad and the


purpose of the narrative was to bring the truth before the British


public, in which it admirably succeeded. It did make a


difference? It certainly made a difference, certainly. The first


three months of 1847 saw huge, the majority of the charitable


contributions from all over the world, came in from Ceylon, from


everywhere, and it was in a great part due to the writings of people


who came here and saw things and witnessed themselves and then wrote


about them in the world media and had them reported, and Dufferin and


Boyle would be definitely included in that. And, of course, it


shouldn't be forgotten that Lord Dufferin himself, from his personal


fortune, gave �1,000 to famine This was typical Dufferin, spending


money he simply didn't have. His bank account took another knock


with an act of charity closer to home. The famine also struck his


own tenants so he reduced their rents and gave them wages for a


massive programme of works. What he wanted to do was start a famine


relief project. Several projects on the estate and we're standing in


front of the lake. Which was one of those projects, creating the lake.


And also, looking towards the house, you can see the vista which was


opened up. Very interesting, but that created employment but also


created a beautiful landscape for him. Very brilliant. That's right,


yes, because he was a little worried about the fact that he was


living in a higher society, that he had an estate to match, as it were.


Yes, yes. But Lord Dufferin's desire to keep up appearances and


help his tenants came at too high a price. Every pound he was spending


put him deeper in debt. He desperately needed a larger income


and he knew where to find it Or, more precisely, his mother's


connection to Prime Minister Lord Thanks to this very important


family friend, Lord Dufferin landed his first proper job. In 1849, at


the age of 23, Lord Dufferin was appointed a Lord in Waiting to


Queen Victoria. This was a very important job that took him to the


heart of the royal court which, at that time, was a very happy place.


Queen Victoria was only seven years older than Lord Dufferin and


happily married. She would have been delightful company and


Dufferin, as was his habit through life, kept a journal of his time at


court. Now, here are his journals and here is the one, let's see for


the right period of time, 1849, '50, ah, well it's the first, oh, here


we are, very good, first one. Interestingly, Lord Dufferin had


his journals typed out and bound. It's not his handwriting now, but


let's have a look. What's this page say? "November 23rd, left Windsor".


This is obviously the very beginning of his stint as Lord in


Waiting, because it says here, "Pleased with my first waiting.


Like the people". It's all so weirdly naive, but he was a very


young man; and let's try another one. Oh, lord, here. "1850, London,


March the 15th... Played tennis. Offered �1000 to be repaid at 5% by


�100 a year instalments. We know he had a money problem, so even while


at court he's trying to work out ways of borrowing money. It's


amazing. Goes on to say, "When sitting round the Queen's table,


they all burst out laughing at my melancholy face". Poor chap, he's


worried about his money. Even the company of the Queen. When Lord


Dufferin was first suggested as a courtier, Queen Victoria is meant


to have declared, "Good heavens, he's much too good looking and


captivating" and when he was at court, she would giggle and tease


him about his poetically long hair. He was obviously a very charming


fellow, very determined to amuse and determined to be popular and I


suppose the grandeur of the life at the royal court, indeed the


grandeur of the country houses he visited with the Queen reinforced


Dufferin in his determination to create the high life for himself at


The high life for Lord Dufferin meant only one thing, a bigger,


better Clandeboye. Ignoring the potential impact on his decimated


bank account, he became desperate to emulate his friends at court and


build. In other words, to keep up So in 1849, he hired one of


Britain's most fashionable architects, William Burn. He set to


work on lavish plans to remodel Clandeboye in a style that was then


Now at last, Dufferin could fulfil his Eton dreams and vie with the


houses of his contemporaries. Men like the duke of Sutherland, with


his Dunrobin Castle and the Duke of Argyll with Inverarey Castle. The


eventual result of Lord Dufferin's bold scheme? One small tower


It wasn't uncommon in the sentimental Victorian age to build


monuments to loved ones, but the sheer scale and architect ambition


of Helen's tower is unusual. It reveals the intensity of the love


between Lord Dufferin and his mother Helen and this room is


really the epicentre, a wonderful Gothic panelled room, lovely


vaulted ceiling and over here, two brass panels proclaiming the love


Here we see a poem written in June 1847 by Helen. It says, "To my dear


son on his 21st birthday with a silver lamp, Fiat Lux, let there be


light." The poem starts, "How shall I bless thee? Human love is all too


poor in passionate words... "and then she goes on to venerate her


son. Up here is a poem commissioned by Lord Dufferin from the great


poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. Tennyson expresses Lord Dufferin's love for


Helen. "Helen's Tower, here I stand, dominant over sea and land. Son's


love built me and I hold mother's love in lettered gold", referring


to this proclamation of love here. Could there anything more moving?


This is the monument to love between mother and son. It's


If Lord Dufferin couldn't yet afford to build a new house, at


least he now had all the fashionable trimmings, his own


folly. His own lake. Plus an ornamental park. With a railway


station pencilled in for good measure. But none of this came


cheap. By the time all the grounds were finished, it would cost him


�70,000. That's five million pounds today. And that's not all he


splashed out on. Lord Dufferin had another expensive hobby, one that


only the more adventurous young Victorians were indulging in


In 1854, he borrowed nearly �3 000 to buy an ocean-going yacht. This


model seems somewhat overwhelmed in the setting of the hall, but it


shows the ship that was to transform Lord Dufferin's life and,


indeed, the life of Clandeboye. It's a model of a schooner called


the Foam and in 1856, Lord Dufferin, aged 30, and his crew went on an


epic four month journey into the North Atlantic and the Arctic. Lord


Dufferin's Sailing trip was expensive, but it brought him fame


as an intrepid traveller. He also returned with a collection of


curios, as he called them... A Giant piece of driftwood from the


arctic, the skin of a Polar bear he shot himself, a Cannon from his


yacht and, most bizarre of all, tusks from Narwhals that he


Here were the beginnings of Clandeboye's transformation into a


boy's own treasure chest. The next part of the booty was to come from


Egypt. To get there, Dufferin traded in his yacht for a steamship


he called Amenia and set sail on his next adventure. In 1859, Lord


Dufferin started to finance the excavation of a 4,000 year old


mortuary temple and tomb of the pharaoh Mentuhotep II at Deir el-


Bahri near Luxor in Egypt. Wonderful things were found. Some


of those are still at Clandeboye, including this fragment of a column


that would have been around the tomb of the pharaoh. Down here, you


see the pharaoh's name, Mentuhotep II. This proclaims that he will


live forever. The best thing, certainly the biggest, is over here.


Now, not the wonderful rhinoceros head, that is tremendous, but what


the head is sitting on... This massive granite altar. Again, 4000


years old from Deir el-Bahri and on it are 18, the name of the pharaoh


Mentuhotep II. It is absolutely tremendous. Here, objects were


offered to the gods and also to his spirit, to sustain him in the


afterlife. But it was Lord Dufferin's present life that really


needed sustaining, particularly his finances. His saviour came in the


With over 50 colonies on six continents by the 1860s, the empire


was growing at an ever-increasing pace. There were foreign postings


aplenty now, and Lord Dufferin's trip to Egypt was opening up more


opportunities than just the Lord Dufferin returned from the


Middle East a man of the world, with direct experience of foreign


travel and of Arab culture, so in 1860 he was a natural choice when


the British government wanted to Syria was important to the Empire


because of its trade routes. Whilst there, Lord Dufferin proved himself


to be a brilliant negotiator, At last, he'd found his calling and,


most importantly, a regular pay In demand back home, he was offered


plum jobs in the India office and the War office. Yet he was still in


need of a fortune. But he was soon to be in possession of a wife. In


1862, Lord Dufferin, at age 36, married Harriet Rowan Hamilton.


This wonderful watercolour captures the moment. They got married at the


church nearby and, after the marriage ceremony, arrived at


Clandeboye House for the reception and here we see Lord Dufferin and


Harriet with a great veil over her arriving through that door over


there. This is an amazing image. One can exactly place the scene


that took place then in the gallery today. A lot of the paintings of


other objects shown in this watercolour are still in the house,


not necessarily in the same place except here, we see this wonderful


curving narwhal tusks. There they are still in place at the bottom of


the staircase. An incredible scene, and one can imagine the reception


was a great success, very lavish, It wasn't just Lord Dufferin who


was going up in the world. His debts were, too. In 1864, he had to


take out a mortgage for �21,000 to keep himself afloat. But his debt


didn't stop him hiring yet another fashionable architect, this time


His brief - to design a gothic A gothic fantasy, as it turned out


because, of course, Lord Dufferin couldn't afford to build it. So


what next? He dismissed Ferry and hired another architect, one


William Lynn. This time, Clandeboye was to be re-cast in French chateau


But that turned out to be a Lord Dufferin decided to continue a


less expensive scheme he started as long ago as 1869, when he turned


the kitchens here at the back of the house into a new entrance hall.


This was, of course, the cheap solution but, as it happened, also


Inspired because it gave him a home for his curios, but also because it


allowed him to display them in a I believe Lord Dufferin was echoing


the layout of the ancient tombs and temples he'd seen in Egypt,


particularly the one he'd excavated In those temples, the journey


starts down there, in the world of man, and rises to the world of the


gods. The visual termination of this route through the house, the


focus of this almost spiritual journey, was the statue of the


great Egyptian god, Amun. He stood just up here. Lord Dufferin had


acquired the statue in Egypt and clearly it was an inspiration


object. Amun was here, but has now been replaced by this wonderful


image of a Buddha who now presides Alas, Amun was sold in 1937 but,


given the state of Lord Dufferin's finances, is lucky to have clung on


By 1872, Lord Dufferin owed �300,000. That's around 20 million


in today's figures, of course, a So what was to be done? Well, he


decided at that point he had to sell some land. It must have been


heartbreaking to sell land he'd inherited and he hoped to pass on


to his descendants, but to sort of sugar the pill, he decided he'd


sell this land to other aristocratic landowners, looked


around to find them were in the same position he was. Not much


money. So then he was forced to do something I suppose he found rather


distasteful, which was to turn to the nouveau riche for funds. The


only nouveau riche in mid-Victorian Belfast were industrialists. They'd


grown fat on the fruits of the empire, manufacturing ships, linen


While most of the old landed families were now broke, crushed by


Ballywalter Park is owned by Lord Dunleath. His ancestor, Andrew


Mulholland, was the linen merchant Lord Dufferin turned to in his


The Mulhollands lent him so much money, almost �5 million to us,


that they became known as I'm sorry about the weather,


couldn't do anything about it, it's absolutely grim. Let's go inside


here. It might be a bit warmer inside. Yes. Thank you very much.


think we were really fairly sort of basic family, living off the land


and then Andrew Mulholland's father sort of started up in a small way


as a businessman in Belfast and, as we all know, in the early to mid-


19th century, it was a time for entrepreneurs, and if they found a


niche somewhere, it was a means of getting very wealthy very quickly.


This is of course a key point, isn't it? The generalisation about


Ireland at that period is it's poor because of the agricultural


depression to some, but Belfast is different, isn't it? It is more


like Manchester and Liverpool, it's an industrial centre. Absolutely.


It had the largest shipyards in the world, the largest rope works in


the world, the biggest tobacco factory in the world and this is


where we come in. The largest, first of all cotton mills, which


were then rebuilt as linen mills. By tradition, your family is said


to be the bankers for Lord Dufferin. He was strapped for cash. I mean,


what happened? I mean, he approached you? Or your great great


grandfather? He, yes, he certainly approached the family and


negotiated a loan of money. Land would have been pledged against the


value of the loan and I guess when Lord Dufferin was unable to repay


it, for whatever reason, some form of foreclosure took place. By the


end of the decade, Lord Dufferin had sold of 12,000 acres. That's


two thirds of his estate. All of it went to the new industrialists.


Soon, he was facing the unthinkable Then, in 1872, came salvation.


Despite having managed his own finances in such a bizarre way,


Lord Dufferin was given management of Canada. He became the third


Governor-General. This prestigious post brought him in a handy �10,000


a year plus expenses. Money was, for Lord Dufferin when in Canada, a


very big issue. He believed that it was part of the Governor-General's


job to entertain generously. That's how one won friends, and certainly


the French Canadians loved Lord Dufferin for his generosity, his


style, his civilisation, his parties. But of course this could


be a very expensive business. Here I have a little document which says


that in those years, 1873 to 1878, Lord Dufferin entertained through


dinners, lunches, balls, theatricals 35,838 people, an


Given this astonishing largesse, it's not surprising to find out how


Lord Dufferin was commemorated by the Canadians. I mean, Lord


Dufferin was so successful in Canada that he in fact, look at


this, he was commemorated on the money of Canada. Not Queen Victoria,


but there we see Lord Dufferin, "Dominion of Canada". He's on the


two dollar bill and his wife, Harriet, Lady Dufferin, is on the


one dollar bill. There she is. That's absolutely sensational. Of


course, Lord Dufferin won recognition for more than being a


generous host. He was also a highly effective negotiator. Lord Dufferin


inherited the aftermath of a rather serious rebellion, which was


between mixed race people. Mixed race French Canadian and Native


Americans who really didn't want to be part of the British Empire and


this is a fascinating thing I've just got here... Indeed, a cartoon


relating to this very time. What happened is that Dufferin had to


display tremendous diplomatic skills to smooth out the


relationship between the French Canadians and the English, Scottish


and Irish conflict. Catholics, Protestants and so on. Very


difficult for him and during this sort of time of diplomacy,


smoothing the aftermaths of rebellion, he got a reputation of a


man with the wisdom of Solomon. That's what this cartoon shows -


him presiding over tricky judgments and getting it right, helping to


Lord Dufferin never stopped sending In 1879, he was made ambassador to


Then he moved on to Turkey. He was hailed as one of the greatest


diplomats of his generation and became an increasingly important


figure in Queen Victoria's Empire - and her affections. We have here


something utterly wonderful. Letters from Queen Victoria to Lord


Dufferin. Here we see a volume of them from Balmoral Castle, 1884,


from the Queen to Lord Dufferin. Incredible. 1884, but still with


his black mourning in remembrance of Albert, who'd been dead over 20


years, and her writing is appalling. Worse than mine. But there are


transcripts I've got to my left here. So that letter. "The Queen


must now thank Lord Dufferin for his extremely kind letters. It does


her good when a lonely, sad life deprived more and more of friends


and helps, and when she sees that people feel for her and are sorry


for her". So that's what the Queen says to Dufferin, who's obviously


very important in her life. And she was important in his. Lord


Dufferin's closeness to the Queen was to help him climb to the very


Finally, in 1884, Lord Dufferin got the job he had long wanted. At the


age of 58, he was made Viceroy of India. The Viceroy was a


representative of the Queen Empress in what was Britain's most valuable


India was Britain's biggest market for manufactured goods and the


source of valuable raw materials, By the end of the 19th century,


Britain was economically dependant on the Raj, making Lord Dufferin's


position there as Viceroy crucial. And with this huge responsibility


came lots of curios, to ship back to Clandeboye, including a tiger


skin and possibly the blade that skinned it. These Indian weapons


Lord Dufferin collected posess a sinister beauty. Look at this sword


with a serrated edge like a saw. Imagine the frightful wound that


would inflict. Some of these are perfect killing machines, very


skilful in the manufacture. And they used it as a war quoit. A


chakra wheel I believe used by Sikhs. They would keep this thing


in their turban. The edge would be razor sharp and in battle, with


great skill, they would throw it like a frisbee through the air,


cutting at enemies' throats. I'll put it over here on this rather


welcoming sort of Indian dragon. Looks very good there. Ah, this is


famous. Tiger claw. Look at this thing, absolutely ghastly. Goes


over your fingers like that. It would inflict a wound like a tiger


claw and these would be very, very sharp. Used to restrain greased


robbers or used by assassins, thuggees, to come up behind your


enemy, again round the throat and just cut like that, quick and


ghastly death. This is a katar, a very famous Indian dagger, one


holds like that with one's tiger claws as a reserve, I suppose. Use


it, of course, to kill an enemy or, indeed, sometimes to defend oneself


from a tiger, if attacked. In combat with another man I think you


hold it in your left hand, sword up here and when your enemy is


distracted by your swordplay, you come underneath and their liver,


the killing blow. A very, very, I say, good way to despatch an enemy.


But looking at it, it's so typical of these weapons. A very efficient


killing machine, yet possessing in Fortunately, Lord Dufferin brought


back more than weapons of destruction. He returned also with


an unequalled and compelling snapshot of life in the heyday of


the British Empire. Clandeboye is home to an extraordinary collection


of photographs, some of the best I've ever seen from this time. Well,


Lord Dufferin's photographic albums is an amazing collection, isn't it?


I mean, it offers a sensational insight into empire. These are all


of India here in the 1880s. I mean, they are little known. Utterly


wonderful. In fact, it is one of the best collections of a private


individual photographs of the empire. This is just, I mean to me,


absolutely mind-blowing. Look, Bombay, Bombay. Mumbai, look,


unbelievable, there it was in 1880s. A wonderful little village on the


edge of the sea. Incredible. This is an album dedicated entirely to


the killing of tigers. Here we see Lord Dufferin sitting with his two


tigers he's clearly shot with his rather large calibre rifle. And I


suppose it could be this very tiger that's out there in the hall.


think you're absolutely right, because the trophies are normally


carried by the people who have shot These photographs provide intimate


insight into life in the Raj, from Particularly fascinating are the


photographs taken during the These offer vignettes of a truly


forgotten world. The conflict with Burma and the British Raj dated


back to the 1820s, didn't it? '25 we had the first of the Anglo-


Burmese wars and it was absolutely central, because at that point in


time, they were discovering tea. They were discovering the shortest


route to China. So the British really wanted to get trade routes.


Trade routes into China without having to go around the Bay of


Bengal. Look at these! These portraits are fascinating Burmese


women are known for being extremely shrewd in terms of commerce and


they control all business. Besides that, you also see that this woman,


this portrait, she has a cheroot. gigantic cigar. A gigantic cigar.


It's as big as her. Yeah, and which was basically a symbol of her power.


Ok, status. Status and power. indeed, being a Buddhist culture,


women have more respect, don't they? They had, women, the


matriarchal societies, they had more control over resources and


family. But I think the most poignant photograph in this


tremendous collection is this one. It shows King Thibaw, the King of


Burma, and his wife just before their world ended, before the land


was annexed by the British Indian Empire. It's wonderful also, the


setting here, because it's a vignette, though on their state bed,


rather like the beds that are here. I wonder if this could possibly be


And heartbreaking, those images. A lost world, worlds that were


vibrant and independent and less than 200 years ago, world has gone


but, as you say, preserved here in these incredible photographic


For four years, Lord Dufferin was in charge of the most important


But more than that, India was to deliver his life's ambition - a


great house. The house he dreamt of It was built not at Clandeboye, but


in the foothills of the Himalayas, at Shimla, which was a summer


In 1886, under Lord Dufferin's supervision, a grand new building


was started and here it is. Plans and elevations. Wonderful. It was


constructed high up in Shimla, or Simla as it was then called. Golly,


it's a wonderful thing. It's a mix of Tudor, Jacobean architecture,


very exotic touches of India, little pavilions and verandas.


Wonderful. How satisfying it must have been for him, at last, a great


building essentially designed by The viceregal lodge was something


All of Lord Dufferin's old schemes rolled into one. Here was the tower


he'd always hankered for. With a Inside was palatial and


extravagantly finished in teak and walnut, with a two tier gallery and


a grand staircase. The viceroy loved it. Less keen, however, was


the British Secretary of State. It cost a massive �8.5 million to


build in today's money. And the Dufferins only enjoyed its


splendour for four months before their post was up. It must have


been fun while it lasted. But when the Dufferins returned to


Clandeboye, it was back to reality with a bump. Lord Dufferin had


commissioned yet more drawings, this time for a 130 foot long


gallery in which he could display his new collection of curios. But


it was the same old story. He couldn't afford it, so had to


settle for a couple of new windows Then, he made a last ditch attempt


In 1897, he became Chairman of the London Globe Finance Corporation,


in which he invested heavily. Unfortunately, that company soon


failed. Lord Dufferin lost his money and, as Chairman, he felt


obliged to use his own fund to compensate other investors. He was,


of course, left financially bruised But there was worse. At about the


same time, his eldest son was Lord Dufferin seemed to have lost


the will to live. He became ill and here, at Clandeboye, in 1902, he


Just before his death, Lord Dufferin revisited his plans for


Clandeboye one last time, but only to have them bound and placed in


the library. Along with them, he wrote, "Unless some future owner of


Clandeboye turns into a millionaire, I do not imagine it will be wise to


Today, Clandeboye's pretty much how Lord Dufferin left it and the


viceroy spirit still lives on with I think it is an incredible


privilege to live in this house, because in a sense, because of the


Viceroy and because of all that has actually remained of him here and


the spirit of him, somehow or other you are sort of a friend of his, in


a funny way. It's almost as though you're just sort of part of it. I


mean, I feel you have a, that's my responsibility, to try and follow


on, you know, this extraordinary thing he did, you know? Yeah.


Clandeboye is one of only a handful of privately run estates still


surviving in Northern Ireland. Lady Dufferin tries to strike a balance


between the demands of the modern age and respect for the past, while


putting her own stamp on the house. Now, here we go on the processional


route, and here, this room, of course, used to be the museum


created by the Viceroy. I'm a little bit ashamed about this room,


Dan. Shame? Shame? Well, the point was it was this great museum and


now it's Cairo. Cairo! In we go. But that... Ah! Well... Oh, I see.


Well, it's not a shame... It is fantastic. It's incredibly


surprising. Fantastic, is this. So this is, but of course the


fantastic thing really, you've been inspired by the Viceroy because the


processional route, I'm saying... Oh, you're making me feel better.


Remembered by Egyptian tombs with Amun at the top, you... You're


making me feel much, much better. And how do you use it? Robert John,


the old butler, my old butler, he dresses up in Arab clothes and then


we have a hookah. Then he comes down and we lay out coffee and we


have a little smoke after dinner. But it's fantastic, is this.


still trying to take it all in. you make me feel so much better,


Dan. No, I don't... I don't feel I've done something awful now.


No, I think the Viceroy's entered your brain and inspired. In a way,


you know, this is so much what he would have done, but it's new,


isn't it? This is a view of this moment but continuing a life, the


tradition of the house created by him. Oh, Dan. But it's, you know...


Well, one day I'm going to put a banquette all the way around, like


in a proper, you know, Egyptian room. I think it needs that, don't


you? It's not the only change she's made since I was last here.


point is, I think you remember it, you know, and... Well, we used to


have tea there in the big round window. Yes. There used to be, a


chandelier was hanging here in your day and I've now moved it into the


dining room. We're now in the back passages. Do you remember, it runs


all the way round the bottom? Come on then. We're on a journey now.


Where's this one go to? You're not going to open that, are you? No? Ok,


I won't. It's so naughty. Do it. What can it be? If it's too


shocking, we won't show anybody. Good heavens. I'm going to have to


take it away, actually, because he's not grown up any longer. Well,


go on. It's just, it is a French model I had in London. I suppose it


is a bit shocking. Well, there you are, that would be perhaps you many


years ago. Perhaps you were the model! Were you the model, Dan?


that, you were not meant to say that. I wouldn't mind being that


chap. I don't think, he's a French boy. No, you're all right, you're


It's not completely clear what will happen to Clandeboye in the future.


Lindy has no children to pass it to, but she has plans to turn it into a


centre of learning, offering insights into the British imperial


There are few other houses in Britain like Clandeboye - a monument to a man whose life was like a Victorian fairy tale of adventure, and a monument to the golden age of the largest and most far flung empire the world has ever seen.

Clandeboye House and estate was, like the empire itself, an epic creation - but unlike the empire, it still endures, a vignette of a now almost forgotten age and surprisingly little altered since Lord Dufferin died in 1902.

The house is overflowing with relics from the empire and Dufferin's aristocratic adventures - stuffed baby bears, Egyptian monuments, tiger skins and weaponry from India, Canada and Burma to mention just a few, with extraordinary photographic albums that document the collecting of these unique 'souvenirs'. Clandeboye is a genuine treasure trove.

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