Lord Fairhaven’s wardrobe

A pair of the 1st Lord Fairhaven's co-respondent shoes. ©National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

A pair of the 1st Lord Fairhaven’s co-respondent shoes. ©National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

Anglesey Abbey, its garden and its sumptuous collections are largely the creation of Huttleston Broughton, 1st Baron Fairhaven (1896-1966). The co-heir to several American-made fortunes, he made Anglesey Abbey into a microcosm of luxury, craftsmanship and art.

Lord Fairhaven and his mother, Cara Rogers, on board her yacht Sapphire. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Lord Fairhaven and his mother, Cara Rogers, on board her yacht Sapphire. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Lord Fairhaven left Anglesey Abbey to the National Trust, and in his will he expressed the wish that the house and the garden ‘should be preserved and kept representative of an age and a way of life that is quickly passing.’ Part of Lord Fairhaven’s extensive wardrobe has been preserved in the house and it, too, is redolent of mid-20th-century upper-class life.

Part of Lord Fairhaven's wardrobe. ©National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

Part of Lord Fairhaven’s wardrobe. ©National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

Lord Fairhaven owned about 50 suits. He regularly wore a carnation in his buttonhole – coloured during the day and white during the evening.

Lord Fairhaven's umbrellas and walking sticks in the Long Gallery at Anglesey Abbey. ©National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

Lord Fairhaven’s umbrellas and walking sticks in the Long Gallery at Anglesey Abbey. ©National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

Although – or perhaps because – he lived alone, Lord Fairhaven liked to invite friends over for dinner, for which formal dress would be worn. The after-dinner conversation would stop promptly at 9, when the butler brought in a radio on a silver tray so that the assembled company could listen to the BBC news.

23 Responses to “Lord Fairhaven’s wardrobe”

  1. Susan Walter Says:

    I have to admit I never really ‘got’ Anglesey Abbey. One of the few NT interiors that didn’t really do it for me. The garden is fabulous though.

  2. carolwallace Says:

    Worth noting, perhaps: famous American clothes horse Millicent Rogers http://www.vogue.com/voguepedia/Millicent_Rogers was Lord Fairhaven’s aunt.

  3. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Susan, perhaps you need to think of it as a Cary Grant/Grace Kelly type film set, but with real works of art 🙂 And perhaps the fact that it is difficult to ‘get’ proves that it is a record of a way of life that has now indeed passed.

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Carol, how fascinating, I didn’t know that – that sort of corroborates what I was just saying to Susan, how this is about mid-20th-century glamour 🙂

    I also love that Chinese table she is so elegantly perching on, evidence of the 20th-century chinoiserie revivial.

  5. Susan Walter Says:

    Emile — you may have hit the nail on the head — my reaction to Chartwell is similar, and although I wouldn’t call its interior glamorous, it’s much the same period I suppose.

    I am, however, prepared to like Lord Fairhaven more, now that I know he had an aunt who wore Charles James. Anne, Lady Rosse was a client of James too. I love the way the cut of his clothes was so complicated that they always fastened in odd places, or laid out flat are really odd shapes, and the wearers had to have little notes pinned to the garments reminding them how to put them on.

  6. deana Says:

    I really love stuck-in-amber houses that are full of the personality of an owner. Although they may not be well ‘decorated’ they seem more authentic somehow with the energy of quirky tastes and odd choices twinkling out amongst the fine antiques of great old houses –– quite a wardrobe too!!

  7. Susan Walter Says:

    Deana: you are right about that, assuming that it works. Chartwell works on this level (and I am just sniffy about Clemmie’s taste). The trouble with Anglesey, for me, is that it doesn’t work on this level. I don’t know why.

  8. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Deana, yes this must appeal to your production designer’s eye 🙂 I like your recent post about Hearst Castle and its suitably huge kitchen.

    Susan, I am glad the reference to Charles James has softened your heart (slightly) 🙂

  9. Mark Purcell Says:

    This isn’t quite out yet, but at the risk of blowing my own trumpet, may I recommend this. In addition to looking at the library, it has three introductory chapters, looking at the American background, life at Anglesey Abbey, and the collection and the Trust’s early reactions to it.


  10. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Thank you Mark, it sounds like that book will help us all to ‘get’ the spirit of Anglesey Abbey.

    And may I add that Mark’s books are always extremely good reads, as well as representing in-depth research and scholarship 🙂

  11. robert Says:

    Dear Emile, this is so off the mark so I apologize, but since the Fairhaven connection to Millicent Rogers was mentioned, may I offer another tidbit? Millicent Rogers mother was first cousin to Frances Seymour Brokaw Fonda, wife of Henry Fonda and mother of Jane and Peter. A historian friend of mine and I often discuss ‘threads’ throughout history, how lines of thought can begin in 18th century England for example and end up with some connection to a Turkish seraglio or a Russian Grand Duke. Of course in this case it lead to Hollywood during the thirties.
    I stand with your fellow admirers of both Lord Fairhaven as well as Millicent Rogers, great admirers of true style and taste, all of us.

  12. downeastdilettante Says:

    I’m sure you know all of this already, but in case not, these are my offerings for the day. Fairhaven is the name of the town on Cape Cod where Lord Fairhaven’s grandfather, Henry Huttleston Rogers maintained a summer home—and where Rogers was born, I believe (I’m too lazy to go look this up right now, so am typing off the top of my bald little head). Lord Fairhaven’s dapper wardrobe is a nice echo of his stylish clothes horse cousin Millicent Rogers, one of the style legends of her day. On Long Island, here in the states, Lord Fairhaven’s various uncles, aunts and cousins built a considerable string of grand country houses, including the more-English-than-English ‘Planting Fields’, also known as ‘Coe Hall’ at Oyster Bay, faintly reminiscent of Anglesey on the exterior.


    I also must respectfully correct the comment that Millicent Rogers was Lord Fairhaven’s aunt. Although he had an aunt Millicent, b. 1873, the famous style icon Millicent Rogers, b. 1902, was his cousin, daughter of his mother’s brother, H.H. Rogers Jr.

  13. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Robert, Dilettante, thank you both for these contributions. It is fascinating to learn of all these links between Anglesey Abbey and the worlds of American high society, fashion and film.

    Interesting, too, that the passionately anglophile Lord Fairhaven chose to name his peerage after his Massachusetts ‘home town’.

  14. Liz Says:

    Lord Fairhaven’s mother, Cara Broughton (nee Rogers, in the photograph above) was also something of a fashionista in her day. There are several of her stunning couture gowns at the V&A, including fashionable Worth designs, and a collection of around 130 pieces of fabulous clothing and accessories in the collection of Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service. These were donated to the two museums when the first Lord Fairhaven died.

    The first Lord Fairhaven wouldn’t have chosen the name of his peerage, as it was intended for his father, Urban Broughton, who spent much of his young adult life in Fairhaven, and met his wife Cara there while he was working with her father (Henry Huttlestone Rogers). Both he and his wife kept up a strong link with Fairhaven after returning to England in 1912, and Cara even sent money back to Fairhaven for charitable causes. She also purchased a local Civil War fort and donated it to the town to save it from being demolished. So it makes some sense that he would choosen Fairhaven as a name.

    Unfortunately Urban Broughton died a few months before the peerage was finalised, so the title was (rather unusually) passed to his widow Cara and eldest son, who thus became the first Lord Fairhaven, while his mother was the first Lady Fairhaven.

  15. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Liz, thank you very much for those insights. How amazing that the 1st Lady Fairhaven’s clothes survive in the collection of Norfolk Museums and in the V&A.

  16. Mark Purcell Says:

    Urban was really more of a passing visitor at Fairhaven. He met his future wife Cara, a young widow, while installing a sewerage system there. The project was backed by Cara’s father, the oil baron Henry Huttleston Rogers (d. 1909). A native of Fairhaven, Rogers was effectively no. 2 at Standard Oil, one of the richest men in America, and known for his business acumen and his extreme ruthlessness. He maintained a huge seaside cottage in the town of his birth, but was usually resident in New York City, latterly just adjacent to Central Park, where near neighbours included the likes of Henry Clay Frick. The newly-married Urban and Cara Broughton lived in Urban’s original US powerbase in Chicago, but subsequently set up near to the Rogers mansion in Midtown Manhattan. They also kept a house at Great Neck, on Long Island sound, and various family yachts shuttled back and forward between there, Fairhaven, and a landing stage on the East River. The move to England came in 1912, when Huttleston, the future Lord Fairhaven, was already 16. The family kept up connections in America, but latterly were only very occassional visitors, as described in published travel diaries and newspaper reports.

    I suspect the title of Fairhaven may have been chosen by Cara, as her son Huttleston was clearly devoted to his mother. She held the title of Lady Fairhaven ‘by special remainder’, an unusual arrangment, taking the style and precedence of the widow of a Baron. I rather suspect that, had he lived a little longer, her husband, an Englishman, might perhaps have been Lord Broughton, but that is only a guess. Certainly Lord Fairhaven’s mother greatly influenced the collecting and the interior design at Anglesey Abbey. In late as the late 1920s it was her companion who interviewed prospctive servants on behalf of her employer’s son.

  17. Liz Says:

    That’s really interesting, thank you Mark! I hadn’t realised Urban spent so little of his time in Fairhaven (I had assumed that they lived nearby before returning to England). It certainly suggests that Cara influenced the choice of name, as she was clearly very fond of her home town.

    If anyone’s interested in some of Cara’s dresses, this is a rather lovely example at the V&A: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O13848/day-dress-worth-charles-frederick/

  18. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes thanks Mark, and thanks Liz for that link. The caption to that dress includes the statement that ‘the relative severity and simplicity of this dress would have been considered appropriate for the young and unmarried daughter of a wealthy American family’ – reminds me of how Henry James tended to describe the American elite in the late 19th century as much more moralistic and straight-laced than their European equivalents 🙂

  19. Wendy Harris Says:

    My friend and I went to Anglesey Abbey on Thursday, we absolutely loved it. What a wonderful legacy to leave to those who enjoy history and lifestyle, we expect to go back later this year to enjoy the winter walk.

  20. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Wendy, I am so glad you enjoyed it.

  21. Mike Sims Says:

    Perhaps one of the nicest National Trust Houses we have been to. I think this is largely due to the fact that the story of the house and its’ owner bring everything to life. A wonderful experience.

  22. Richard Says:

    My Father was the Radio Officer on the SS Sapphire during the 1920s and 1930s and I look forward to visiting Anglesey Abbey soon.

  23. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Richard, how interesting. I have just checked our collections database, and here are a few images of the yacht (although of course you may already have some yourself):

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