Sunday 3 November 2013

Aston Hall by Candlelight (nearly)

Aston Hall by Candlelight 
November 2013

We have spent the last three evenings at Aston Hall attending the bi annual Aston Hall by Candlelight experience.

Its amazing that in our 24 years in the city we have never visited the hall not really even seen the outside which sits alongside the Aston Expressway shielded by a belt of trees. What is more, its barely a long distance clearance from the Holte end of Aston Villa's iconic football stadium so the omission is nearly unforgivable.

Sadly, we still havn't visited the hall - instead we spent three rather chilly evenings selling preserves in the associated craft fair, but at least I got a look at the outside of this incredible Jacobean mansion, built in 1635 for Sir Thomas Holte. I know this because I heard the start of the guided tour six times each evening!

The incredible thing is that such a structure sits so close to Birmingham's city centre, but of course when it was built Birmingham was a mere hamlet in today's Digbeth. The city has spread and as the hall changed hands its lands were sold off for housing development till today it sits surrounded by industry and housing and were previously it was assailed by Parliamentary troops, today it is assaulted by the constant roar of traffic from the A38(M). 

The hall fell into the ownership of the city corporation over 100 years ago and whilst much of its essence, remains there is inevitably more than a trace of clumsy compromise which is attached to just about anything that illustrious institution gets its hands on!

However, the place is a complete gem and well worth a visit if you ever get a chance.

 And why nearly? Well, as we were working we didn't get to look round the place all lit by candles, and as we will be unavailable next weekend we wont be able to get to see it this time round. Maybe in 2015!

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