English stately home renovated to World War Two condition

The British cook and baker, Mary Berry, has renovated an English stately home to its World War Two condition, and has re-opened the house to the general public.

Upton House in Warwickshire, England,

The renovations to recreate its World War Two condition have taken place on the 70th anniversary of World War Two, so that the public can visit and learn about how the house was used, and what life was like during the war.

A team of renovators, designers and historians have worked over the last six months to create the World War Two time warp. In 1939, a leading British bank moved its London head offices to Upton House to ensure its business wouldn’t be affected by the German bombing raids on London.

Upton House was one of two country estates used by banks during the war. The other was used by the Bank of England.

The renovations team went to extraordinary lengths to source original props, furniture and equipment to recreate the bank’s World War Two facilities. Some details even include toothpaste, typewriter ink, and lipstick made from boiled beetroot.

Mary Berry opened the renovated stately home, which is now open to the public to visit.

One of the details found was even 1940s toilet paper. Although even at the time this would have been a luxury, since England was under rationing throughout the war. Household items such as flour, sugar and tea were all rationed, the Mail Online reports.

Pens and pencils from the 1940s also fill the bank’s makeshift desks which line the walls of a grand hall in the house.

The team found most of the 1940s objects online, but many were also donated by collectors.

They say that it was important for them to show what life was like for ordinary peoples in England during the war. Uprooting the bank and its employees and shifting them all to the countryside was quite a feat for seventy years ago.

Upton House was built in around 1695, and passed through various different families since then. During the war it was owned by Walter Samuel the second Viscount of Bearsted, whose father was the founder of the Shell oil company. The house, its belongings and gardens were all donated to the National Trust in 1948.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE