Inspired by the depth and breadth of the Astors’ archive at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), University of Reading, my current project focuses on Waldorf and Nancy Astor’s years at Cliveden and some of the less familiar stories.
From the estate papers, for example, we learn of the contribution of Captain Harry Lindsay (the estranged husband of the garden designer Norah Lindsay) to the refurbishment and repair of the mansion in 1906-1907. The cost-cutting moves which led to Cliveden’s temporary closure in 1931.
Most interesting of all however, as we move towards commemorating the centenary of women gaining the vote in 1918, and Nancy Astor’s ground breaking election in 1919, is how Cliveden fits into the narrative of the advance of women in British public life in the following three decades. A talk on this topic has been pencilled in for next year.