Hatfield House and the Marquis of Salisbury
Henry W Lucy
Essay, Travelogue, Biography
Laboratories, Chemistry, Photography, Amateurism, Politics, Electricity
In a tour of Hatfield House, the Jacobean mansion which is the family seat of the current leader of the Conservative Party, remarks that 'Lord Salisbury's particular den is a room on the ground floor, which is used as dressing-room, bath-room, and laboratory. Great statesmen usually have some peculiar bend aside from their ordinary work, and suggestive of how they would have gained their livelihood had their lines fallen in other places', and, while his predecessor Benjamin Disraeli wrote novels, 'Lord Salisbury dabbles in chemistry. In his room is a large cupboard with glass doors displaying a portentous array of chemicals. His Lordship is also a successful amateur in photography. He has put to practical use his scientific talents by planning the lighting of Hatfield House by electricity' (346), and he 'works in peculiarly fortunate circumstances, seeing that the river Lea runs through the park, and is utilized for motive power, thus saving the cost and inconvenience of a steam-engine' (347).
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