Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Valley Diary

Broadband has enabled me to make contact with people in different parts of the world. However it was a surprise to make contact with a local newsletter through this blog.
The printed Valley Diary is published monthly in the villages of Singleton, East Dean, West Dean, Charlton & Chilgrove but new items are often added to The Online Valley Diary on a daily basis. I live only a few a miles away and I had not heard about these interesting publications.
My post about Arcimboldi following my visit to West Dean House was "noticed" up the valley and was reproduced in the April 2007 diary. I hope that I will be able to include further items of interest for readers of the Valley Diary in my blog.
I have been following up my interest in the history of the house and its previous owners.
William James, an American millionaire and the father of Edward James bought the West Dean Estate c1893 and built the unique Monkton House in 1902. Some of its contents were on view in the recent exhibition at the barn. The architect was Edward Lutyens.

In 1905 he bought another Lutyens house called Greywalls, Gullane about 15 miles east of Edinburgh. This house was built as a holiday home in 1901 for Alfred Lyttelton, the first sportsman to play both cricket and football for England. It is next to the Muirfield golf course and Alfred was also a keen golfer. The house and gardens were designed by the "dream team" of Edward Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll.
Mrs William James was born in the Scottish highlands. It is said that she was the natural daughter King Edward VII. Edward James was born at Greywalls in 1907. He inherited West Dean House when his father died in 1912 and Greywalls was sold to the Horlick family in 1924, who have created one of the best hotels in Scotland there.
I have happy memories of the Greywalls Hotel as I stayed there for a "holiday job" as private tutor to one of the Horlick family in 1958. Much of my time was spent playing golf and tennis and listening to a 78" record of My Fair Lady which had been brought from America and was not yet available in England. Another visitor was Dorothy Sayers who used to come there to write.