The original dining room at the Restoration Period Tredegar House was the Brown Room, which featured in a previous post here. The present Dining Room changed from being a drawing room in the Late Eighteenth or Early Nineteenth Century. It was still being used as the Dining Room up until the Morgan family left the House and sold it to the Sister’s of St Joseph, when it became a school chapel.
The Copeland Spode dinner service was donated to Tredegar House by the last Lady Tredegar in 2000. It is not complete, but it is substantial. It dates to the 1880s and bears the family crest with the motto, Si deus nobiscum quis contra nos, below it. Usually the service is dusted during the Spring Clean, but every five years it needs to be washed and this year is dish-washing year. Tempting as it was to put them in the kitchen sink, every piece had to be washed and rinsed with swabs made from cotton wool.
There is another earlier Copeland service dating to about 1850. Both services would have been part of elaborate table settings for the huge dinners that Tredegar witnessed over the years. Whilst cleaning these plates, I can’t help wondering who has eaten off them. Godfrey Morgan, the first Viscount himself or his brother Frederick who who come down from his nearby home in Ruperra Castle? Perhaps Godfrey’s sister Lady Hereford who often came visiting and liked to think that she gave a woman’s touch to this bachelor pad. In the Twentieth Century when Evan Morgan became Viscount, there was a very eclectic choice of dinner guests seated around the table. The plates would have been placed in front of the likes of H. G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, Augustus John, Ronald Firbank, Nancy Cunard, Prince Paul of Greece and Aleister Crowley.
The Dining Room has been used extensively in television programmes, both factual and fictional; The Victorian Kitchen and the Hairy Bikers have used it and Torchwood and Doctor Who fans might recognise it too. Indeed, the Late Victorian Chenille carpet in the Dining Room is the only one left behind by the last of the Morgans; however, for true fans this is the room where Queen Victoria knighted Dr Who at Torchwood House!
The most striking features of this room are the ceiling (Victorian), the fireplace (Regency) and the painted glass armorial windows (Queen Anne possibly?) as well as the panelling which is original to the Restoration House. When the panelling was put up this room was known as the New Parlour, so named to distinguish it from the Old Parlour in the Tudor wing of the House. The New Parlour was very much a family room, away from the state rooms and entrance hall on the other wing.