The existence of the modern Harlaxton Manor can be attributed to the illustrious Mrs. Violet Van der Elst who saved the manor from demolition in 1937. She worked to restore and refurbish the manor as well as modernize the interior. While Mrs. Van der Elst spend a large amount of money on additions to her new home, she also funded activism against capital punishment and her own campaigns for election to Parliament. She was a strident woman who conducted public protests, wrote books and newspapers, composed music and symphonies, and practiced séances in an attempt to communicate with her deceased husband. Mrs. Van der Elst also supported the war effort during World War II by opening her doors to soldiers while they used the Manor grounds for training purposes. Mrs. Van der Elst’s hobbies and passions add character and an interesting layer of history to this beautiful manor and its surrounding gardens.