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January 2022 Zoom Lecture

‘Shaw House: Berkshire’s Hidden Gem’

Sarah Somerville,

Visitor Services Officer, Shaw House 

Friday, 21st January at 2pm

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Water colour painting of Shaw House by Frances Everett circa 1860s courtesy of West Berkshire Museum

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Gardeners on Front Lawn - Postcard

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Map of Speen c. 1730

In this talk, Sarah Somerville will talk about the history of Shaw House, an Elizabethan manor house, told through the development and changes in its gardens. Built from the profits of the cloth trade in 1581, the house has enjoyed visits from royalty, including Elizabeth I and Charles I, as well as being the setting for Civil War battles and accommodation for soldiers during World Wars. The gardens were once as grand as the building itself, with aromatic shrubs surrounded by painted statues and sparkling fountains.   


Now, following over £6 million of conservation and restoration, the House is a visitor attraction and conference centre. Many of its secrets were not revealed until restoration and Sarah will have great pleasure to share them with us.

Whilst completing her degree in Museum and Gallery Studies, Sarah first worked as a tour guide at Highclere Castle, used as the setting for the filming of Downton Abbey. She later joined the Public Opening and Events department, remaining at the Castle for over seven years before moving to Shaw House in 2019.  In 2021, Sarah published the first guide book for Shaw House and hopes that her enthusiasm increases awareness of this important historic home and garden.

Booking: Book online by clicking the 'Book Now' button. The tickets are £5. We will send you a Zoom link for the lecture a few days before the 21st January. The lecture will last approximately 1 hour, followed by questions.

The lecture will be recorded with the link available for a week to those people who have booked for the event. 


Queries: Please contact Janet by email at; or phone Fiona Hope on 0118 984 3504 for queries about the lecture.

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