King of the castles
Guest speaker at the Mangawhai Probus Club May meeting, Chris Hogan, emigrated to New Zealand in 2005 after a 25 year career in the UK Crown Court, and then working for the National Trust.
Chris started volunteering for the National Trust at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, the birthplace of Isaac Newton. The 17th century farmhouse is furnished in the period and visitors can view the famous apple tree that inspired Newton’s thoughts on gravity.
His first job for the National Trust was at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, built for Sir Nathaniel Curzon. The main house was never meant to be a family home but a showpiece palace for lavish entertaining and displaying Sir Nathaniel’s collection of paintings and sculpture. The house was finished in 1765. The East Wing remains the private residence of the Curzon family. Chris and his family lived in an apartment on the top floor in the West Wing.
The Curzon family gifted Kedleston Hall to the National Trust in lieu of paying huge death duties with the proviso that two further generations of the family could live there. There are 800 acres of parkland, 9 acres of garden, 5 lakes, a fishing lodge and golf course.
In order to maintain this property there has to be significant fundraising. Outdoor concerts were held in the summer.
Chris then moved on to Belvoir Castle for a year. This is privately owned by the Duke and Duchess of Rutland and was built in the 1800s. It is mainly used for corporate functions, weddings and equestrian events.
Chris urged those travelling to the UK to join the National Trust as very good discounts to visit stately homes and castles are available. He has been invited back to work at Belvoir Castle but now enjoys his life in New Zealand.
n NEXT MEETING: Mid Winter Christmas at the Mangawhai Tavern, Thursday June 16, 2pm. If you require more info or transport please contact Ron and Gaylene Lawrence 431 5617 or Beve Smith 431 5777. All visitors are welcome.
n COMING UP: Concert at the Anglican Church, Mangawhai, September 15. Tickets on sale in August.