Roll up, maggots! Agatha Trunchbull’s educational facility-cum-internment centre for little beasts, Crunchem Hall, is throwing up its gates to the public for a day next month.
The real-life location for Matilda the Musical’s scary school, Hampshire’s Bramshill House, will be open to members of English Heritage for one day only on Friday February 10.
In the spirit of the kid-hating Trunchbull herself, the major caveat is that you need to be over 16 to go – and a member of English Heritage. Grown-ups and older fans should head to the official site for all the info and tickets (NB you need to book a slot ahead of time).
In the movie, this Grade I-listed Jacobean mansion is transformed into a foreboding institution presided over with an iron fist (and boots) by one-time hammer-throwing champion Miss Trunchbull (Emma Thompson). Here Matilda and her classmates try to avoid the terrible twin fates of chokey and phys-ed.
In reality, it’s a country pile that dates back to the Domesday Book and is steeped in history. It once hosted King James I and King Charles I, and is reputed to be haunted by an impressive 16 different ghosts.
Its southern façade stars in the movie’s opening musical sequence in which the school kids dance in front of Crunchem Hall. Its wood-panelled entrance hall and staircase feature, too, while its grounds pop up for its fairground and assault course sequences. Of course, the ‘Bambinatum est Maggitum’ (‘Children are maggots’) sign is nowhere to be seen.
Stephen Graham: ‘My daughter said she’d disown me if I didn’t do “Matilda the Musical”.’