Warwickshire’s Upton House transformed to reveal wartime history

    Bank staff on steps of Upton House. © National Trust
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    From 27 March, the National Trust’s Upton House in Warwickshire will be turning back the clock to 1939 when the house became home to the family-owned merchant bank M. Samuel and Co., while the family moved out to the Dorchester Hotel in London to take part in the war efforts.

    The south front at Upton House, Warwickshire. ©National Trust Images/Rupert Truman
    The south front at Upton House, Warwickshire. ©National Trust Images/Rupert Truman

    Twelve rooms within Upton House will be recreated during 2015-2016 to present a compelling picture of what life was like at the property during the Second World War, as the family moved out in order to move the family banking business and staff into the property. Driven by the need to protect bank staff and assets from the London air raids, the bank took over the elegant mansion for the duration of the Second World War.

    The Library, Upton House, Warwickshire. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie
    The Library, Upton House, Warwickshire. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

    The move was at the forefront of Government planning before war was even announced, with the Chancellor of the Exchequer demanding the banking sector be resilient enough to withstand threats to London from expected air raids.

    Visitors will be transported back to wartime Britain to experience Upton House and garden when 22 bank staff made it their home. Discover where bank staff slept in shared dormitories; where armed servicemen guarded prisoners of war working in the grounds, and where the typing pool staff worked surrounded by some of the nation’s most treasured works of art.

    Rachel O’Connor-Boyd, Upton House Collections Manager said: “This is a fascinating, as yet untold story, and a significant part of the history of Upton House. The story and the impact on the lives of those involved deserves to be told”.

    DON’T MISS OUR WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY GUIDE, INCLUDING DETAILS OF UPTON HOUSE, WITHIN THE MAY 2015 ISSUE OF DISCOVER BRITAIN.

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