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Celebrating Ten Years of Greenway and National Trust

Greenway Then

The famous and much loved crime author Dame Agatha Christie bought Greenway in 1938 as a holiday home, with her second husband Max Mallowan. The grade II listed 18th century house was a place where the family could relax and enjoy quality time together. It even served as inspiration for her books, particularly Dead Man’s Folly and Five Little Pigs.

The Greenway estate was gifted to the National Trust in 2000 by Agatha Christie’s family and shortly afterwards, the gardens were opened to the public. The house remained private and home to her daughter and son-in-law, Rosalind and Anthony Hicks, but after the couple passed away in 2004 and 2005, the house was given to the National Trust and Agatha Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard, gifted the contents along with it.

What began then was an intense restoration project to bring the ‘loveliest place in the world’ back to its former glory. With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and money raised from the public, a project began called ‘Another Chapter’. The collection was removed and carefully conserved and catalogued while inside the house it was obvious substantial works were needed. Large cracks were visible in the walls and ceilings, lintels had become detached and subsidence needed to be addressed. Major works took place on the roof, with timbers and internal servicing completely replaced and masonry being stitched together. The house was kept under wraps until ready for its grand opening.

In February 2009, the National Trust opened Greenway House to the public for the first time, after undergoing a £5million restoration project.

Greenway Now

Over the past decade Greenway has welcomed an array of different guests including celebrity authors, artists in residence and numerous film and television crews: David Suchet himself recorded his last ever scenes as Poirot for Dead Man’s Folly here in 2013. The estate has also undergone major restoration projects on the Boathouse, and the glasshouses in the Walled Garden where, notably, the restored Peach House harbours a peach tree planted by Mathew Prichard in 2010. Elsewhere in the gardens, outdoor theatre productions regularly transport audiences into magical worlds, and fans from all over the globe relax on deckchairs in front of Queen of Crime’s holiday home.

Events at Greenway

To mark the 10th Anniversary in 2019, the National Trust celebrated with a season of festivals. Greenway is accredited as one of only seven UK ‘International Camellia Gardens of Excellence’ by the International Camellia Society, and in March the property hosted its inaugural Camellia Festival. The event explored the rich history of Greenway’s garden with a week long programme of displays, talks and workshops and will return again in 2020.

It wouldn't be a true celebration of Greenway without a literary festival, and for two weeks in the summer the Greenway Literary Festival ran writing workshops, author talks and various other activities exploring the property’s literary heritage. Writers such as Ann Cleeves, Sophie Hannah and Christie expert Dr John Curran entertained audiences, and festival goers were inspired to discover some new (and classic) stories.

In September, Greenway featured in the International Agatha Christie Festival celebrations which take place over Christie’s birthday on the 15th, playing host to a 1950s fȇte inspired by the one described in Dead Man’s Folly.

A special Autumn Tea Festival took place towards the end of the year with tea-inspired collection pieces, talks and delectable goodies on the programme. Visitors indulged in their favourite brew, discovered new favourites, and learned some lesser known facts about the camellia plants used in tea.

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