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The subterraneous 5th Duke of Portland
January 14, 2008 4:59 PM   Subscribe

A Brief Biography of William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott, 5th Duke of Portland (1800-1879) - keen horseman and 'peculiar to many - but certainly not mad' owner of Welbeck Abbey.
posted by tellurian (4 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I wish I were rich enough to be peculiar instead of mad.
posted by jfuller at 6:50 PM on January 14, 2008

I've been fascinated by Welbeck Abbey since reading about it in Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island. I'd never seen a picture of the tunnels before now. Thanks, tellurian.
posted by Kattullus at 9:18 PM on January 14, 2008

He provided his employees with umbrellas and donkeys to enable them to get to and from work without fatigue.

When roller skating first came in, he had a rink installed near the lake for the benefit of the staff and he encouraged them to make good use of it. Similarly, he liked them to row on the lake and would sometimes coach them in oarsmanship.

Best. Duke. Ever.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:49 AM on January 15, 2008

Fascinating stuff. Reminds me of the Jospeh Williamson tunnels under Liverpool, dug by a similarly benevolent nutter, who made an underground labyrinth to provide employment for thousands of soldiers returning from the Napoleonic wars and/or because he needed an underground lair to survive an imminent apocalypse.
posted by jack_mo at 4:11 AM on January 15, 2008

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