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CHARLESTON, BLOOMSBURY'S COUNTRY RETREAT
Firle, Lewes - Sunday 22 August 2004

Usually the Club makes return visits to favourite locations and often some of the members have made private visits beforehand but this was a new venue for the Club and none of the members attending had visited before, which was surprising as Charleston is off the A27, quite near Lewes.

Charleston is an old Sussex farm house, originally part of the Firle estate belonging to the Gage family. It was taken by Vanessa Bell as a country retreat for her family and friends during the Frst World War. The 'friends' were a group of artists, writers, journalists and economists know as the Bloomsbury Set - hence Charleston is also known as 'Bloomsbury in Sussex'. They seemed to lead an unconventional life, whether here or in London and the Club members were given a fascinating conducted private tour of the house before being opened to the public. The house had been completely painted by the Set and contained many mementoes of their presence.

Forty-five members, including several new to the Club, attended in twenty Club cars. The weather held and members were able to picnic round the lily pond after the tour.

Maurice Pitchford - Section Committee Member


Charleston   Charleston garden
Charleston - the farm house which became the country retreat of the group of artists and writers known as the Bloomsbury Set.
 
The beautiful lily pond provided an idyllic setting for our lunch alfresco.
 
Char(leston) ladies - Kate and Daphne made light of the catering. Our Club cars displayed in the car park. Photos: Ian Burt