4 May – 29 November 2018

On 4 May Polesden Lacey will launch a new programme, Power Play, exploring the social power of inimitable Edwardian socialite Margaret Greville.

From quiet beginnings as the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy Scottish brewer, Maggie (as she was known to her friends) rose up the social ladder to become an influential member of high society, counting the likes of King Edward VII among her close friends.

Maggie was known for hosting lavish parties, with guest lists that included not just celebrities and names of the day, but royalty, politicians and ambassadors – powerful people from around the world.

Kenneth Clark remarked of her ‘She was immensely rich and the only hostess who had any political power … She sat back in a large chair, a Phoenician goddess, while the cabinet minister or ambassador leant forward attentively. I have no doubt she had considerable influence.’

Including talks, tours and exhibitions, Polesden Lacey’s new programme will explore how Maggie became so influential, and more importantly, how she took advantage of her influence and power.

Visitors will be able to explore rooms throughout the house, from the extravagantly decorated entertaining rooms on the ground floor, to guest bedrooms on the first floor and the recently-renovated exhibition suite.

Interactive activities throughout the house will bring the stories to life. Visitors will be able to design the perfect guest list, listen to guests’ reminiscences and see clips of the entertainers who performed at Maggie’s parties.

Power Play is part of the National Trust’s Women and Power programme, exploring women’s lives, voices and achievements, marking 100 years since the Representation of the People Act granted some women the right to vote.

Power Play runs from 4 May – 29 November 2018. The house will be open every day, with tours running on weekdays from 11am – 12.30pm followed by free flow exploration in the afternoons and all day at weekends.

© Guildford Arts 2016

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