Scores of people attend first Wymering Manor open day

HISTORICAL PRESENCE Antonia Hilder dressed as Mrs Richard Ford, who lived at Wymering Manor from 1881 to 1900. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131229-1)
HISTORICAL PRESENCE Antonia Hilder dressed as Mrs Richard Ford, who lived at Wymering Manor from 1881 to 1900. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131229-1)

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IT’S a manor house oozing with historic charm – and for the first time hundreds of people got to see it for themselves.

People looked on in awe as they walked into the hallway of Wymering Manor, with its grand twin staircase and panelled walls that date back to Elizabethan times.

Yesterday was the first community open day organised by Wymering Manor Trust, which became the custodian of the Grade II listed building in January in a deal with Portsmouth City Council.

The building is the oldest in Portsmouth and much of structure dates back to the 16th century.

Jo Thomas, 24, from Hayling Island, was among a family of 10 who were given a tour.

She said: ‘It’s awesome. I am impressed by how much of it has lasted so long.

‘It’s a great day out for the family.’

Mary Eastman, 52, was selling home-made fairy cakes in the garden.

She said: ‘It’s a beautiful building.

‘There’s a lot of work to be done, but if they can restore it to its former glory it will be brilliant.’

The tour included a fascinating room with old photographs and maps of the area.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, chairwoman of the trust, was in her element showing people round the property.

She said: ‘There’s so many people who knew about the building, but have never had the opportunity to look round before.

‘It’s captured the imagination of all generations.’

Antonia Hilder, from North End, dressed in period costume, as Mrs Richard Ford, the wife of the Portsmouth mayor who lived at the manor.

She said: ‘This is a gem for north Portsmouth and it’s got to be preserved.

‘It’s a microcosm of history.’

More open days are planned this year.