Episode 47: The Material World of Powderham: a castle, a horn, a bookcase and a chair

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

‘Architecture is a dangerous mix of power and importance’. Rem Koolhaas (1944-)

Welcome to Histories of the Unexpected where you will discover the history of things that you did not know had a history; like the history of chickens, or the history of tears.

For this episode let us join fruit-based historian, Professor James Daybell, and his giant peach, Dr Sam Willis, as they open secret doors to bring you the unexpected history of Powderham Castle.

So, get your masquerade masks at the ready, for you are invited to attend 3rd Viscount William Courtenay’s lavish three-day 21st birthday celebrations, which wouldn’t be complete without the added bonus of 600 peaches. Oh, and make sure to avoid Powderham’s ghostly inhabitants, particularly the poltergeist!  If you’re unfortunate enough to become acquainted with the supernatural you could plan your escape from one of Powderham’s many trap doors, perhaps the library may be a good start?

James and Sam reveal that this unexpected history is actually all about: politics of sociability, the reformation, blood and inheritance, artic exploration, unicorns, hunting, curiosity, prisoners of war, cuckoldry, female education and literacy, knowledge and display.

Don’t forget to solve James’ and Sam’s argument of what is the best kind of bookcase: tidy or an ‘organised’ mess?

‘We shape our buildings therefore they shape us.’ Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965).

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