Travelling by taxi from the centre of Carlisle to Crosby Lodge was an exciting event in itself! I knew that G must have travelled the same road so many times by horse and carriage. After about a 30 minute drive, we arrived at the place where Georgiana spent most of her childhood. Her family having spent a few years living in the town of Carlisle, moved to the house built for them by her maternal grandfather. The house has changed quite a bit since those days. It is much larger having had a round turret added on each side and castellations along the roof line. The barn on one side and the kitchens on the other are also now part of the main house.
It was early evening, still light and very quiet in the heart of the countryside, with cows grazing behind the house and blackbirds singing in the beautiful gardens. Mike took some photographs outside to catch the light while Patricia Sedgewick, the current owner, very kindly began showing me around the house. It was thrilling to walk the rooms and corridors that G lived in, to look out of the windows at the views she must have known and loved and to stand by the fire that warmed her on cold, English winter evenings. Most of all, I felt close to her when I walked in the garden and looked out to where the drive probably once wound up to the house.
An old gate leads to the fields at the back of the house – once the front. Georgiana’s presence there was strong, as it was in the walled garden where servants once gathered fruit, vegetables and herbs for the kitchens. Mrs Sedgewick very kindly unlocked the garden and we saw how beautifully she has restored it. I told her that G would be thrilled to see it!
photo of old gate
Mr and Mrs Sedgewick have spared no expense in restoring the house to its former glory and it is now an exquisite hotel listed by the prestigious Johannson’s guide. The soft furnishings and carpets in particular are as authentic as possible and quite beautiful. We talked a lot about the house and about G in particular. It was wonderful to be able to leave a special gift for Patricia to thank her for her kindness on an evening when the hotel was busy – and to make a link between Crosby Lodge and Western Australia.
I gave her the book that Jennifer had sent for her – a copy of Pat Negus and Jane Scott’s beautiful book of the indigenous flowers of the region where Georgiana made her home. I was about to tell Patricia that it was extra special because it is dedicated to G but emotion took over too much so that Mike stepped in to finish the sentence for me – not for the first time during our trip!
I felt so sad when we had to say goodbye, travelling the road that G would have used when she left to move to Rugby. No wonder she didn’t settle there. Crosby Lodge is a still, serene place and I didn’t want to leave either. A big thank you to Mr and Mrs Sedgewick for taking such great care of a wonderful house.