Only weeks away now for that weekend when Woodhall Spa once again rolls out the time machine and sets the dial to the1940s. This year the festival is scheduled for the third weekend in July – 15 / 16th, so if you enjoy flypasts, parades, period costumes, big band music and the like, all to be found in one of the most attractive villages in Lincolnshire, then you know where to be that weekend.
Sincere congratulations to Charles Foster, creator and doughty editor of the Dambusters Blog, which has just passed the million hits mark. In noting this achievement, Charles comments on the enduring fascination of the Dambusters raid:
“I think the reason may be because although the raid itself is the stuff of legend, it also represents a bigger story: that of the ‘greatest generation’ who fought tyranny, came through the years of austerity which followed, and built a better society in which all could flourish.”
Many of those who today visit the Squadron Bar, our lovingly preserved 617 Squadron Officers’ Mess here at the Petwood Hotel, former home to those who flew in the 1943 raid, might agree. | Related posts
I read recently that Lincoln is “the perfect base to explore Lincolnshire’s rich aviation heritage”. Well “perfect” is debatable – Lincoln is a fine city, but why not avoid the city crowds and make Woodhall Spa your Lincolnshire aviation trail base?
For instance, where else can you stay and dine in a hotel which was home to the 617 “Dambusters” Squadron in 1942, complete with the original officers’ mess? The Squadron Bar at the Petwood Hotel features a range of memorabilia and tributes to Guy Gibson VC, Leonard Cheshire VC and their Officers, and so is itself an aviation hotspot, often overlooked in tourist articles.
There are other advantages, apart from peace and quiet. Woodhall Spa is nearer than Lincoln to some key aviation destinations, such as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby, the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre and Thorpe Camp. Other must-do aviation attractions a little farther afield, such as the Newark Air Museum or Cranwell Aviation Heritage Centre, are within easy reach by car. You are less likely to get snarled up in city traffic than you would be in Lincoln, which is a nightmare right now with the building of the new bus station complex.
So, to help you plan your ideal Lincolnshire aviation trail, here are some useful links, and a memorable video: Continue reading
Spring is in the air, and there’s plenty to do in and around Woodhall Spa:
Up to thirty stalls of antiques, Art Deco and vintage – all at the Petwood Hotel. For details call 01754 811897. Admission £2
Charles Foster, nephew of Dambuster pilot David Maltby runs the Dambusters Blog. As well as logging fascinating biographical notes and reproducing numerous old photographs, the blog features some intriguing current stories, such as an unusual take on Barnes Wallis, the inventor of the famous bouncing bomb.
At Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, four graphic design students have been working on an exhibition project about Barnes Wallis, as part of their degree course…..the images they have produced are very interesting and effective, and would grace the walls of any gallery if one could be found to take it on.”
“The exhibition is entitled ‘Ducks & Drakes’ and, in the creators’ words, portrays Wallis’s struggles with his conscience ‘after an innocent idea of skimming stones inspired him to create the Bouncing Bomb which had a devastating impact on the German Dams of WW2.” [Charles Foster, Dambusters Blog]”
Nicholas Duke-Cox has undertaken extensive research over the past three years in preparation for a publication on the definitive history of the gardens at Petwood House, now the Petwood Hotel.
In a recent article written for The Kew Guild, Nicholas calls for primary evidence of landscape architect and naturalist William Goldring’s involvement at Petwood House, originally built for the furniture heiress, Grace Maple, then Baroness Eckhardstein, between 1905 and 1906.
Nicholas explains: “The fame of the gardens arose later c.1912 with the alterations and expansion to the original design, by Harold Peto. The literature knew of a first garden but not of its appearance. Thanks to the commissions of the Baroness to local professional photographer, John Wield, we have photographic evidence of the construction and maturation of that garden from 1906 to 1909.These images are unique. No one else ever had access to these gardens.” Continue reading
And it’s all good news! The Petwood was recently voted the Best Hotel in the East of England by Best Loved Hotels. Voters in this influential competition particularly praised:
- The history of the house, not least of all its connection to aviation history
- Walking in the gardens and exploring the Lincolnshire Wolds
- Excellent cuisine made from local ingredients
- The original Edwardian features bring a bygone age back to life
- Golfers love being adjacent to Woodhall Spa Golf
One happy voter commented: Continue reading