We visited Nuffield Place, a National Trust house, on a Thursday afternoon in April. Although the website warned us that we might have to have timed tickets this was not necessary – the car park was about half full. After our membership cards were scanned we were at liberty to go wherever we wanted in the house and grounds. As usual there were helpful volunteer guides around the house.
Nuffield Place was purchased by Lord and Lady Nuffield in 1933 and was furnished as a practical and comfortable home where he lived until his death, some years after his wife, in 1963. He was born William Morris and was the designer of the Morris car in 1912. The factory made munitions during the war but returned to car production afterwards, buying Wolseley and Riley to add to the Morris Company and bringing Henry Ford’s methods of mass production to Britain.
Lord Nuffield is considered one of the great philanthropists of the twentieth century. He gave money to the Sea Cadets and various educational establishments but to me the most interesting was the fact that he got his factory to make iron lungs and gave these free to any hospital in Britain and the Commonwealth who requested one. In all over 1700 were distributed and many lives were saved. I do not feel that the National Trust has made enough of this – there is one iron lung in an outbuilding which could easily be missed as it is not mentioned anywhere on the leaflet handed out on admission. In fact, the house does not contain much about either the cars, other than photos of famous owners, or of his charitable work. Although the house is quite interesting it is the man himself that makes it worthy of inclusion in the National Trust’s portfolio.
The rooms are simply and comfortably furnished with a wide selection of various clocks. His bedroom contains a large wardrobe which is a combination of tool shop and items which interested him. The gardens are being restored and were delightful this spring.
Overall an enjoyable visit and we had a good sandwich in the tea room. We found the house interesting but would have liked to learn more about the man himself, particularly his cars and charitable works.