Wellington: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview

42 Life at Walmer Castle 1830-50

'I'm considered a great favourite with children.'

THE DUKE clearly enjoyed his life at Walmer Castle. He rose early, as soon as he was awake, believing, as he said when asked how he managed to turn over in such a narrow bed, that 'when it's time to turn over, it's time to turn out'.*1 He shaved himself carefully, using razors which he insisted on having sharpened either by a man in Jermyn Street, one of the few cutlers in London whom he considered capable of doing the job properly, 2 or by a man 'in a little cellar, subsequently a newspaper shop, in Piccadilly, close to the Burlington Arcade'. 3 After safety razors came into use he became one of the first men in England to experiment with them. He then dressed carefully, and, in his later years, extremely slowly, insisting on brushing his clothes himself and leaving only his boots -- made for him by Mr Hoby of St James's Street -- to the attention of his valet, Kendall, and the boot-boy; and he would have cleaned those too, so he told Lord Strangford, if he could have done so without the servants coming to bore him with their talk in the boot-room.4

Soon after seven o'clock, and from time to time as early as half-past five, he could be seen, usually in blue coat with white trousers in summer, blue trousers in winter, walking briskly up and down the battlements, occasionally in company with Charles Arbuthnot -- 'our two dear old gentlemen', as the housekeeper once fondly described them, 'so happy together?'. 5

____________________
*
He slept on a travelling bed for preference but he did not insist upon it. His bed at Apsley House was 'an elaborate French mahogany one decorated with trophies of arms in gilt bronze' ( 'Wellington: Some Elucidations' in Gerald 7th Duke of Wellington, Collected Works, 92).
He was as particular about his pictures. Colonel Gurwood told Benjamin Robert Haydon that he would not let anyone else have the key of the glass of his Correggio and when the glass was dirty he would dust it himself with his handkerchief. Gurwood once asked him if he would give him the key so that he could clean the glass for him. 'No,' the Duke said. 'I won't' ( Haydon Journals, ed. Elwin, 30 November 1839).

-338-

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Wellington: A Personal History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Author's Note and Acknowledgements xi
  • I - 1769-1815 1
  • 1 - Eton, Dublin and Angers 1769-87 3
  • 2 - An Officer in the 33rd 1787-93 9
  • 3 - The First Campaign 1794-5 13
  • 4 - A Voyage to India 1796-8 17
  • 5 - The Tiger of Mysore 1799 23
  • 6 - The Governor of Mysore 1799 30
  • 7 - The Sultan's Palace 1800-1 36
  • 8 - Assaye 1802-5 41
  • 9 - Return to London 1805-6 47
  • 10 - Kitty Pakenham 1790-1806 54
  • 11 - Ireland and Denmark 1806-7 58
  • 12 - Portugal 1808 66
  • 13 - Board of Enquiry 1808 77
  • 14 - Across the Douro 1809 82
  • 15 - 'A Whole Host of Marshals' 1809 - 10 92
  • 16 - From Bussaco to El Bodon 1810-11 101
  • 17 - Life at Headquarters 1810-12 108
  • 18 - Badajoz, Salamanca and Madrid 1812 117
  • 19 - Retreat to Portugal 1812 126
  • 20 - From Vitoria to the Frontier 1812-13 133
  • 21 - St Jean De Luz 1813 144
  • 22 - In London Again 1814 151
  • 23 - Paris and Vienna 1814-15 160
  • 24 - Brussels 1815 167
  • 25 - Waterloo 1815 174
  • II - 1815-52 187
  • 26 - The Ambassador 1815 189
  • 27 - Cambrai and Vitry 1815-18 202
  • 28 - Stratfield Saye 1818-20 213
  • 29 - King George IV and Queen Caroline 1820-1 220
  • 30 - Husband and Wife 1821 226
  • 31 - Vienna and Verona 1822-4 241
  • 32 - St Petersburg and the Northern Counties 1825 - 7 251
  • 33 - The Prime Minister 1828-9 264
  • 34 - Battersea Fields and Scotland Yard 273
  • 35 - The Death of the King 1829-30 278
  • 36 - Riots and Repression 1830-2 287
  • 37 - A Bogy to the Mob 1832 296
  • 38 - Oxford University and Apsley House 1832-4 306
  • 39 - Lady Friends 1834 313
  • 40 - The Foreign Secretary 1834-6 319
  • 41 - Portraits and Painters 1830-50 326
  • 42 - Life at Walmer Castle 1830-50 338
  • 43 - The Young Queen 1837-9 348
  • 44 - Grand Old Man 1839-50 357
  • 45 - The Horse Guards and the House of Lords 1842-50 367
  • 46 - Hyde Park Corner 1845-6 373
  • 47 - Disturbers of the Peace 1846-51 378
  • 48 - Growing Old 1850-1 385
  • 49 - Last Days 1851-2 394
  • 50 - The Way to St Paul's 1852 399
  • References 405
  • Sources 426
  • Index 439
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