To continue our activities commemorating our 30th year, we thought we would share another of our selected 30 objects from the collection. Today, we have decided to show you the image of this massive bonfire. This bonfire was built to celebrate the coronation of King George V in 1911 and the tiny figures you see standing in front are workers from the Rothschild estate in Tring.
Royal bonfires had already become a tradition and there were over 2,000 in England alone that day in June. This one was photographed by a Tring photographer named Howlett. At the time, the Tring Park estate was owned by Nathanial 'Natty', 1st Lord Rothschild, the first Jewish peer raised to the House of Lords.
He and his wife Emma built over 400 modern cottages in and around Tring, complete with sewage arrangements and water supply. After Natty’s death in 1915, Emma lived at Tring with her eldest son Walter. Walter was a scientist and natural historian. In 1892 he opened his museum, which Natty had built for him in the grounds of Tring Park to house his collection of zoological specimens. Walter did not inherit the estate (this passed to his younger brother, owing to a disagreement with his father), but he was left a huge sum of money. This enabled him to finance overseas expeditions and expand his collection. After Walter's death in 1937, his nephew, who had since inherited the estate, offered the museum to the British Museum and it became part of the Natural History Museum in London. The Rothschilds retained the mansion and some of the parkland, but Tring Park estate, consisting of 11 farms and numerous cottages and shops in surrounding villages, was broken up and sold in October 1938.