Palace House Blog – December 2017

Posted  04.12.2017
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Palace House is being transformed with stunning festive decorations as the team go on the hunt for the Butler’s missing fez!

The Case of the Missing Fez

In 1889 the Butler was a Mr George Pleasants, who was head of all the indoor servants at Palace House. He worked for Henry, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, his wife Cecily and their three children. One year Lord Henry presented Mr Pleasants with a gift from his travels abroad, a bright red Egyptian Fez, which the Butler proudly wore. True to the character he represents, the guide portraying Mr Pleasants today in the House is refusing to make an appearance without his beloved fez!

Whilst hunting for the Fez we came across some eager Beaulieu staff creating a frosty winter’s scene in the inner courtyard, soon to be topped with sparkling snow. Down in the workshop the last coat of paint is drying on the reindeer’s sleigh, which will adorn the front lawn.

In the Victorian kitchen the first of the season’s mince pies have made a welcome appearance, and the sweet smells of cinnamon and gingerbread are escaping from the range. The path leading from the House has been drizzled in twinkling fairy lights, and at the end of the walk is the largest Christmas tree on site standing at over 60 feet.

Giant Christmas Tree at Beaulieu
One of the largest Christmas trees in the New Forest!

Still, with no sign of the Fez we headed upstairs to find tables, chairs and objects in motion as the team transform the Private Dining Room into something special for the visitors to see… visit us this winter to find out what it’s been transformed into.

All chimneys have been checked and swept; with over 30 fireplaces at the House we can never be sure which St Nick will choose to descend on Christmas Eve! The wood baskets beside all need to filled with logs and kindling, as fires will be lit to keep the House, family and visitors warm this winter.

Having found ourselves empty handed, the search for the missing Fez continues…

Join us for a Victorian Christmas

Visit Palace House this Christmas to join the Victorian Montagu family as they prepare for the festive season of 1889.


Create Christmas crafts in the Library, watch Victorian Montagu family members rehearsing their Christmas day panto in the Lower Drawing Room, and head to the Victorian kitchen to chat to Lord Montagu’s cook and her kitchen maid as they prepare for Christmas Day lunch.

Victorian Christmas activities will be running on 9 & 10 December 2017 and 16 December 2017 – 1 January 2018, except Christmas Day.

Claw Mystery solved!

Last month we asked if anyone could identify the mysterious ‘claw’ that had been found in the archives. This baffled many experts, and most suggested it was the hand of a wombat. It was a member of staff here at Beaulieu who managed to identify it from his travels in Australia. That, he tells us, is the hand of a kangaroo! Well done to anyone who correctly identified the claw!

Mystery claw in the Palace House collection
Mystery solved! The ‘claw’ is in fact the hand of a kangaroo.

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