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Photograph: Ruins of Chateau of Hougoumont
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Title: Photograph: Ruins of Chateau of Hougoumont
Identifier: 2001.5.49
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1870-1876
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A black and white photographic print entitled “Field of Waterloo. The ruins of Chateau of Hougoumount”. The title is written on the back. It depicts the walls of a brick/stone house that have burned down. There are three men looking at the ruins. There is what appears to be an undamaged building behind the ruins.

Hougoumont (originally called Goumont or Gomont) was a farm lying south of the village of Waterloo. At the time of the battle of Waterloo the farm was let to a tenant farmer and the chateau stood empty. British Guards and wagon troops held Hougoumont for nine hours of continuous fighting. The chateau was burnt to the ground with only the adjoining chapel surviving. The chapel remains a consecrated church and has a memorial to the soldiers who fell there. The tower, coach shed, cow shed, east stable and east gate into the walled garden were also destroyed during the battle. The gardener’s house and barn were not destroyed. The garden wall in the front of the farm, flanking the main gate, is still standing. The British soldiers knocked loopholes in the wall to fire through and afterwards the upper portion was knocked down. There are several memorial stones in the wall. http://www.trabel.com/waterloo/waterloo-hougoumont.htm

Traveler’s in the 1870’s could not take their own photographs, so professional photographers would create albums with photos like these and sell them to travelers to commemorate their journey. In 1871 Elizabeth (Bessie) and Annie Harris (daughters of James Beveridge and Elizabeth) traveled to Europe to do a tour of Scotland, Ireland and England. In 1876, Lucy and Arthur Harris traveled to Scotland to visit their aunts in Perthshire. James Beveridge Harris’s sisters, Margaret Patton and Matilda Lindsay, both lived at Rose Terrace, Perth, with their cousin Margaret Anne Patton in the 1870s and 1880s. These photos could have come from any of those trips or have been sent by the Aunts, to the family at Benares.
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