I went to Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire recently and it gave me a whole new perspective on clutter. The guy who owned it originally, Mr Charles Paget Wade, was an architect who liked collecting things. All sorts of things, anything and everything.
It made me wonder if I have been going in totally the wrong direction with all this de- cluttering, perhaps Walt and George should have written a book called ” Seek it, Heap it and Keep it.” (You can see my earlier blogs on de-cluttering by clicking on “CLUTTER” in the TAG CLOUD).
Mr Wade amassed a great collection of bicycles, swords, children’s toys, boxes, tins, fabrics, Chinese artefacts (although I didn’t know what they were) ……. and models of ships, cobblers foot lasts, spectacles, kitchen pots, ladders, silver goblets, glasses and pans ……. and wheelchairs, suits of armour, soap, beds, looms, samurai warriors, dolls houses ……. and books and telescopes and locks and coins and stones and sticks and jars and model engines ……. and globes, leather boots, ladies dresses. I have probably missed just a few hundred things. In one sense the house was full of clutter but because they were all things from the past, they were also curiosities.
The displays were head-spinningly confusing and not at all unravelled by any useful labels or explanations. Hidden in the half-light of deliberately dark displays. If there was any order to Mr Ward’s collecting, it was that there was no order!
It was GREAT !
Evidently Mr Wade wanted visitors to his collection to have the joy of discovery and this was behind his reasoning for keeping the collections poorly illuminated. I don’t quite buy this logic because I found it more frustrating than illuminating. I would suggest to the National Trust that they give every visitor a small torch when they enter the building.
He must have had a ball ………. and loads of money ………. and lots of time………and a very tolerant wife ! He wasn’t cluttering he was collecting for posterity. He made a virtue out of hoarding. Not a minimalist, he was more your gold-plated maximalist!
I wonder if I should get all my thrown-away clutter back from Daventry rubbish tip ?
There will be a copy of Walt Hopkins and George Simons’ book — “Seven Ways to Lighten Your Life Before You Kick the Bucket” — for the best ideas on de-cluttering.
Perhaps I should send a copy of Walt and George’s book to Mr Charles Paget Wade posthumously?