Grim's Dyke has a fascinating history since it's construction in 1872 by Richard Norman Shaw for the eminent Victorian artist, Frederick Goodall.
In 1890, it was bought by W.S. Gilbert, the famous dramatist and librettist partner of Sir Arthur Sullivan, and it remained his home for over 20 years until his death in the lake.
Sir William S Gilbert died on the 29th May 1911 while teaching two young women how to swim in his lake. One of the women, out of her depth, called out for help and Gilbert tried to rescue her. Accounts are conflicting but he died of heart failure, either in the middle of the lake during the attempted rescue or shortly thereafter.
Grimsdyke has acheived awards for it's garden's, was a sanitorium and hospital, the site of secret World War 11 projects, became a film set for Hammer Horror films and, the location for many well known TV shows.
Surrounding the house are the ground's, an enchanting mix of wild woodland and formal gardens. The rhododendron's introduced in the late 1850's, burst into life in the Spring, presided over by the majestic Giant Redwood's and Monkey Puzzle tree. Bluebell's carpet the wood's and flank the gently winding paths. Indeed, lost paths are still being unearthed. In 2001, the head gardener discovered a labyrinth of cobbled pathways linking the lake and the Dyke and a secret monkey house built for Gilbert's pet monkeys.
Walk past Lady Gilbert's treasured sunken rose garden, where over 12 historical varieties of roses bloom, over the moat where the duck's swim quietly and you will find Gilberts orchard, home to many diferent fruit tree's including a Ribbstin Pippin apple, first eaten in 1707.
Inside the house amongst the bedroom's, is the restaurant, a magnificent music room with it's breathtaking Minstrel's Gallery and alabaster fireplace, and a beautiful drawing room with original oak-panelling, imposing fireplace and views over the croquet lawn.
Back outside, walk deeper into the woods and you will come across the famous boating lake. Lady Gilbert had the lake drained after Sir William's death but the lake and original waterfall are now being restored, and should be back to their former glory soon.
Having a son in the music business and a daughter who also loves music a dad who played saxaphone and clarinet and played in a band and a mum who sang with a band, I have very varied music tastes from The Beatles, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Faith No More to jazz, classical music and many other genres but I'm afraid that the music of Gilbert, (the owner of the house) and Sullivan is not my favourite but, a day out and lunch in his house is one very enjoyable experience and one that I will be enjoying again in the not too distant future !!!!
All photos courtesy of me !!