70 years of Longleat House being open to the public

70 years of Longleat House being open to the public

Published at 6:05am 4th April 2019.

3 minute read

The stately home is celebrating their anniversary of opening their doors on a commercial basis.

In 1949 Henry Frederick Thynne, 6th Marquess of Bath, decided to open his family home as a tourist attraction.

He was an MP for Frome between 1931 and 1935, and only before returned to the house after the death of his father.

A young Lord Bath greets visitors to Longleat House on its opening day in 1949 PIC Getty Images
A young Lord Bath greets visitors to Longleat House on its opening day in 1949 (picture credit: Getty Images)

During its first season, which ran from April to September, the House welcomed a total of 137,985 paying visitors.

The admission charge was two shillings and sixpence (equivalent to 12 1/2p), or one shilling (5p) for a child.

Longleat original roll of entrance tickets, guidebook and parking ticket machine as well as entrance fee in old money
Longleat original roll of entrance tickets, guidebook and parking ticket machine as well as entrance fee in old money

As part of the celebrations Viscount and Viscountess Weymouth, Ceawlin and Emma Thynn, have recreated iconic photos from the time featuring Ceawlin's grandfather, the 6th Marquess of Bath, and his family welcoming visitors into their home.

Ceawlin said:

"My grandfather was a hugely influential figure in my childhood and his ground-breaking decision back in 1949 has been emulated throughout the country and created an entirely new type of heritage tourism.

"I am extremely proud of what he achieved and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate his massive role in opening it up to a wider audience and ensuring Longleat's longevity as a privately owned home.

"Hopefully we are honouring his memory by continuing to innovate and develop the visitor experience and remaining at the forefront of the attraction industry."

Visitors to Longleat are greeted by the 6th Marchioness of Bath on its opening day in 1949 PIC Getty Images (1593x1600)
Visitors to Longleat are greeted by the 6th Marchioness of Bath on its opening day (picture credit: Getty Images)
Viscount and Viscountess Weymouth with sons John and Henry recreate an image from Longleat's opening day in April 1949
Viscount and Viscountess Weymouth with sons John and Henry recreate an image from Longleat's opening day in April 1949

During 2019 visitors can view objects from the Longleat Collections relating to the opening in 1949 as part of a special display within Longleat House.

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