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Robert Stayner Holford (1808- 1892), a prodigious and cultured Victorian millionaire, employed Louis Vulliamy to design and build this grand country house at Westonbirt in the later half of the ninteenth century.
Holford, whose extraordinary history and accomplishments have largely been forgotten, was passionate about architecture and had previously employed Vulliamy to design and build Dorchester House, a fine Italianate palazzo in Park Lane, with the aim of setting a new standard of architecture in London.
R S Holford amassed important collections of art and trees; these being his two greatest passions. As well as building Dorchester House, he comissioned a grand new house at Westonbirt to display his many fine art treasures. Likewise he developed the Pleasure Grounds around the house and the now famous Arboretum to accomodate his impressive collection of trees, many of which came from international seed and planting expeditions.
Although Dorchester House was demolished in 1929 to make way for the new hotel and the Holford Art and Library collections were sold in the 1920s, Westonbirt House and the Arboretum remain a testament to the quality of the family’s achievements. Westonbirt House has been a boarding school since 1928 and the site is open for visitors to the house and grounds between April and October each year.
Please check the VISIT tab early 2018 for confirmation of open house and gardens dates throughout the summer.