Even when I was at school in the eighties I knew Margaret Thatcher was a decisive figure. Some loathed her Capitalist policies, affected voice and imperiousness. Others admired her steel will that was a battering ram through wimps, wars and problems. As a provident woman she must have loathed the excesses the eighties brought. She was the first female prime minster though and was voted in three times (can you imagine that happening in the UK now?) Some politicians are still in awe of her leadership and only last week I heard a politician on the radio say, “If I’m stuck I think to myself What would Mrs Thatcher have done.” My mum certainly wasn’t a feminist and I can remember her watching MT on television once and she said, “Why would she want this job? Leave running the country to the men."
Here I am at the country hotel where Margaret found solace to write the first book of memoirs after her resignation. You’d think she’d have stayed in a hotel in Hampshire or Suffolk wouldn’t you but she came 250 miles north to stay at The Nunsmere hotel in the Cheshire countryside. I headed out to Northwich one afternoon to have a look.
This posh boutique hotel is up a winding drive and there’s so much water circling it that it’s almost a moat. I took photos of the exterior and as I wasn’t wearing clothes with curry/egg/paint stains down the front I went inside. The young model-type lass on reception rose to her feet, was helpful and told me to go and have a stroll around inside and out. Moreover she showed me the room where Margaret wrote a lot of the first book The Path To Power. It was a charming spacious communal lounge but I doubt she'd have actually written it there - too many distractions from other guests. She'd have applauded the move-and-shaker who had this hall built to live in. It was built for a self-made entrepreneur called Sir Aubrey Brocklebank who was chairman of the Brocklebank Shipping Line (which later merged with Cunard.) He and his wife hosted glittering parties for the elite of Edwardian society.
I strolled around the well-manicured gardens though you soon reach water. This was an ideal place for a wedding and, as if by magic, I happened upon a long pristine marquee adjacent to the hall. It all reeked of the kind of high expense wadded members of the Cheshire Set don't mind paying to get hitched. Cynically I wondered how many couples got hitched here...then ditched...then ultimately unstitched (the UK divorce rate is currently 42%.) Margaret had a long loving private life and marriage with husband Dennis. As I sauntered around the hotel I'd guess he'd have played golf all day while Margaret wrote and they'd have met up in the evenings for some top grub in the restaurant.
As I returned to the main reception another receptionist rose to her feet with a smile. I just wished I was an important guest paying through the nose for a plush suite but I was just a curious geek in £9.99 slippers.
Out at the back...
The view out of the front...