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Beaulieu shown within Hampshire
|Population||829 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||New Forest East|
The picturesque hamlet of Buckler's Hard, with its Georgian cottages running down to the Beaulieu river is part of the 9,000 acres (36 km2) Beaulieu Estate. It was the "birthplace" of many British naval vessels, including many of Admiral Nelson's fleet, using the timber of the New Forest. (Ref: Ships Of British Oak - A J Holland 1971.)
The industry declined in the 19th-century and today the hamlet is given over to tourism, with a small maritime museum, and a modern yachting marina. Bucklers Hard was where Sir Francis Chichester began and finished his single-handed voyage around the world in Gipsy Moth IV.
Beaulieu village has remained largely unspoilt by progress, and is a favourite tourist stop for visitors to the New Forest, and also for birders seeking local specialities like Dartford warbler, European honey buzzard and hobby.
The nearest railway station is Beaulieu Road, about 4 miles (6.4 km) away on the London-Weymouth main line. While previously this station had an infrequent service, there are now some 20 trains per day stopping here.
Palace House (not to be confused with the Palace of Beaulieu in Essex), which overlooks the village from across Beaulieu River, began in 1204 as the gatehouse to Beaulieu Abbey, and has been the ancestral home of a branch of the Montagu family since 1538, when it was bought from the Crown following the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII.
The house was extended in the 16th century, and again in the 19th century, and is today a fine example of a Gothic country house.
Although still home to the current Lord and Lady Montagu, parts of the house and gardens are open daily to the public. It is a member of the Treasure Houses of England consortium.
The village is also home to the British National Motor Museum.
The museum was opened in 1952 as the Montagu Motor Museum and became a charitable trust in 1972. It contains an important collection of historic motor vehicles, including four world land speed record holders:
- Sir Malcolm Campbell's 1920 Sunbeam 350hp
- His son Donald Campbell's 1961 Bluebird-Proteus CN7
- The 1927 Sunbeam 1000hp (the first motor car to reach 200 miles per hour (322 km/h))
- The 1929 Irving-Napier Special 'Golden Arrow'.
The last two were both driven by Major Henry Segrave.
Beaulieu Jazz Festival
|Beaulieu Jazz Festival|
In the late 1950s Beaulieu was the surprising location for one of Britain's first experiments in pop festival culture, with the annual Beaulieu Jazz Festival, which quickly expanded to become a significant event in the burgeoning jazz and youth pop music scene of the period.
Camping overnight, a rural invasion, eccentric dress, wild music and sometimes wilder behaviour — these now familiar features of pop festival happened at Beaulieu each summer, culminating in the so-called 'Battle of Beaulieu' at the 1960 festival, when rival gangs of modern and traditional jazz fans indulged in a spot of what sociologists went on to call 'subcultural contestation'.
- McKay 2004, 2005
- Lord Montagu of Beaulieu (2000) Wheels Within Wheels: An Unconventional Life. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
- George McKay (2004) '"Unsafe things like youth and jazz": Beaulieu Jazz Festivals (1956–61) and the origins of pop festival culture in Britain'. In Andy Bennett, ed. Remembering Woodstock (Aldershot: Ashgate).
- George McKay (2005) Circular Breathing: The Cultural Politics of Jazz in Britain, chapter one 'New Orleans jazz, protest (Aldermaston) and carnival (Beaulieu [Jazz Festival 1956-61])'. Durham NC: Duke University Press.
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