Saturday, 16 July 2011

Hardwick Hall

This is the first time we have been here, we visited the old hall a few years ago when the children were much smaller and it stressed me out a bit. Felt all a little dangerous with missing chunks of wall and steep stairs. Of course they are all much bigger now so the panic factor has gone quite a bit. We are quite lucky as its very nearby us and I think a visit to the gardens will be planned again soon! The new Hardwick hall was built by Bess of Hardwick, one of the wealthiest women in England in the 1590's. She was born in the old Hardwick Hall, which is run by English Heritage. It is said "Hardwick Hall more glass than wall" and its quite tru althought when you go in the house its actually very dark despite all the glass.

 The gardens are delightful though!
 I loved these sttar shaped flowers
 How's this for a garden gazebo?

 I love the shape of this tree! There were so many interestingly pruned trees around the garden but this was my favourite.
 The children found a dead bird floating in the little pond.
 A view of the house from the back, where's the back door though???
 There was a temporary gazebo up for some reason which kind of ruined the view a bit. We did notice a ha ha wall though! Always look out for them now.
 Inside the house, which is very famous for its tapestry collection. It is the largest collection of tapestry, embroidery and canvaswork to have been preserved by a single private family. I liked this one which was done as a 400 year celebration of Bess.
 Ruben liked this cube jigsaw, he then looked around the house to see if he could spot the pattern on any of the other tapestries, but there were quite a few!!

 This was the room where all the title deeds to all the land and properties owned by the family were kept. This includes nearby Chatsworth. Must have kept them very busy as well as very rich.
 There are lots of royal connections to Bess, Mary, Queen of Scots was confined in several country houses during this time including Chatsworth, despite never staying at Hardwick Hall there was a room dedicated just for her. Its amazing how when you visit country estates you see how all the connections between the families are made, it makes me want to look into more so maybe this will make a great project. Especially as Sheffield also has connections to it too.
 Love a good fireplace!

 This was a very impressive gallery, with so many paintings and tapestries displayed. Lots of the tapestries need repairing and the cost is over 1 million pounds.

 This was very interesting, watching how they clean the bed. Obviously everything gets dusty in such a big house and with everything being so old its really important to find ways to preserve and protect these items. Hoovering the bed linen through a special, mesh net means it can be cleaned with minimal damage. It takes much longer though, an hour just to hoover this one bed!!

 Seadogs on the foot of this table, very cool, especially as they were on top of tortoises!!

Lots of very impressing pieces of furniture and huge rooms. I was a bit disappointed with the ceilings though as the ones at Kedleston were so beautiful and these were so plain! The children enjoyed doing the trails around the house including a Harry Potter themed trail. But it was quite difficult to find some of the things on the trail due to how dark it was in the house. Obviously this is to preserve the very old items in the house and it was a particularly dull day, we missed several huge rain showers whilst we were in the house. I have to admit I found the house a little repressive but it has inspired me to find out so much more about Bess and her relationship with Mary, Queen of Scots, its fascinating! 

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