Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Researching the new book

I'm writing a new Georgian with a blank slate -- ie it's not directly linked to any previous book, and I'm trying to nail down details as often as I can.

I decided to open the book in Guisborough, not very far from here, so I can do on the spot research.

Today I was looking around for a place for the hero's family home that wasn't too far away, but far enough. As I scanned my large scale road atlas, I saw Aske Hall. Mainly because I'd highlighted it.

Perfect location, but the reason I'd highlighted it was because my father-in-law was a footman there before the war. We have photos of the outside that he took, like this one. So no, that's not him. And some that we took on a visit a few years ago.
(The colour picture below is one we took a few years ago. There's easy access to the outside by a footpath through the estate. Worth a stroll if you're nearby.)

We've never been inside because it's still a private home.

They do free tours once a year, so I've booked us in for next September, but that will be too late for the book.

It doesn't matter, though, because I'm not calling the place Aske Hall, only using it as a frame for my invention. I prefer to be able to arrange the layout etc to suit the story.

The other reason that I generally make up such places is that if we visit, we see what's there today, and even in the best preserved, there's a lot of modern included. I try to combine textual and pictorial information from the 18th century with the framework of what's there now.

But it'll be interesting to go aroud it. I also know now where the Aske Hall records are -- in Northallerton, not far away -- so we'll take a trip and see if we can find a servants' roster, payroll or something.


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