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A brief history of the Museum building

Built by Duke Fülöp Batthyány in 1840, the only listed Manor House still standing in Érd now houses the Hungarian Geographical Museum. Intended to serve as an inn, it was built along the first busy road on the boundary of Érd-Újfalu, a new part of the settlement emerging after the great flood of 1938. It was named the Pelican Inn after the heraldic animal in the coat-of-arms of the Batthyány family. Judging by its neo-classical style, it is likely to have been built either by József Hild or Mihály Pollack, or by one of their students. Its later owners were Baron György Sina (1848-51), Baron Simon Sina (1851-1876), Count Viktor Wimpffen, Count Simon Wimpffen and Count Imre Károlyi (1911-26). The building has become known as the Wimpffen Manor House after its long-time owner.

The 68×14 m brick walls of the main building were built on limestone foundations mined in Sóskút, a place of Sarmatian origin. The entrance (main door) in the middle of the street façade is adorned with a lunette and there is a cornice on the upper façade except the tympanum. The middle portico (the original entrance to the Manor House) on the courtyard front, adorned with a tympanum is supported by four Doric columns. There used to be an open veranda. The main building was complete with a coach house with a workshop at one end, as well as wells and stables, one of which was the dwelling quarters of domestic workers.

The village of Érd purchased the building from Count Imre Károlyi in 1926. One wing of the Manor House was designated to house St. Stephen Higher Elementary Boys’ School, the other the local gendarmerie. Formerly located in Ófalu, the village hall (from 1950 the “council house” the Hungarian equivalent of “local council” in the communist era) was relocated into the Manor House in 1942. The school moved to the coach house with its interior now converted into classrooms and a small house was built for the principal at the far end of the garden. A jarringly out-of-place structure for the “tanácselnök” (the Hungarian equivalent of “mayor” in the communist era) and the offices were wedged between the main building and the coach house in the 1970s.

The Hungarian Geographical Collection (later Hungarian Geographical Museum) and the Music Library moved into the East wing of the main building in 1983, while the other wing continued to house a wedding hall and a few council offices. In 1988 the West wing, excluding the wedding hall, was also designated to the Museum. In 1988 the wedding hall also started to function as part of the Museum. In 2001, when the listed building was reconstructed, the main building was also restored; the out-of-place structures were pulled down and the garden was re-landscaped. In 2012, funded by the EU, a lecture hall, an exhibition hall and a room used for museum pedagogy were built in the attic as part of a town centre development project.