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Gatsby Style is Great at Hodsock Priory

September 3, 2012

To steal a line from comedian Eddie Izzard, “Some people are widely read.  I’m quite thinly read.”  There are vast swathes of classic literature that have (thus far at least) eluded me and “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one such novel.  However, the title alone is enough to conjure up visions of feathers, flappers and overflowing cocktail glasses.

Essentially it has become a form of shorthand for The Roaring Twenties so I had a clear idea of what I was getting into when I was booked to perform at a Gatsby-themed ball at Hodsock Priory in Blyth, Nottinghamshire.

The programme for the "Great Gatsby"  themed ball 1920s

If you’re planning a historically-themed party or wedding you could do a lot worse than Hodsock Priory as they have pretty much every era since Tudor times covered somewhere in their wonderful buildings.  The magnificent Tudor gatehouse, possibly built to coincide with a visit by King Henry VIII in 1541, is one of the oldest parts of the Priory and makes an indelible impression on the first-time visitor.

The Tudor gatehouse at Hodsock Priory in Blyth, Nottinghamshire

Much of the main building was reworked during the 19th century in the Gothic Revival style.

Hodsock Priory main entrance

The interior is just as impressive.  This is the wood-panelled entrance hall:

Wood panelled entrance hall at Hodsock Priory with oil paintings

I love the wallpaper!

Victorian geometric wallpaper at Hodsock Priory

There are wonderful period details all over the place.  Even in the corridor leading to the toilets  I found this 1930s advert for Arrow Collars:

Framed 1930s advert for Arrow shirt collars

The advert tickled me particulalry because one of the songs I sang that evening was Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top” which of course includes the lines “You’re the top/You’re an Arrow collar”!  I performed an hour of songs from my repertoire during the arrival drinks after which guests were ushered through into Hodsock’s ballroom which had been decorated in keeping with the Gatsby/1920s theme.

The ballroom at Hodsock Priory

All in all, marvelous evening.

I may not have read “The Great Gatsby”, but I know a great venue when I see one and Hodsock Priory is just that.  I look forward to singing there again and if you want to find out more about it you can visit the Hodsock Priory website here.

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