On a beautiful summer afternoon, 24 Society members journeyed to this magnificent Victorian mansion, now a hotel.  Impney Hall was built originally in 1875 for John Corbett, the “Salt King” of Droitwich, and designed by French architect Auguste Tronquois in an exuberant chateau style.  The garden front is an overwhelming vision of a fairy-tale palace in stone and brick and glass.  The French styling was a deliberate attempt to please his wife Anna, who was brought up in France, and to impress his neighbours, particularly the Packingtons of nearby Westwood House.  Unfortunately, this beautiful home was not enough to save the marriage.  After seven years of joint residency, Anna left to live elsewhere while John remained alone at Impney Hall until his death in 1901.

We were received very courteously by hotel staff who guided us on a tour of the main rooms.  Although damaged during the Second World War by British military personnel and altered to accommodate a modern hotel, there is still plenty remaining of the original grandeur and opulence in the entrance hall, grand staircase, former ballroom and main bedrooms.  The views over the extensive gardens and parkland are superb.

After the tour we were glad to sit down for a very good cream tea; everyone commented on the excellent quality of the scones. We departed with the feeling that we had visited a remarkable building, though its story was tinged with sadness.

John Dixon