Haddon Hall is forever a place of surprise and astonishment.
Back in 2006, whilst major repair work was being carried out to the balustrade on Dorothy Vernon’s Steps, a small lead box was uncovered. This mysterious vessel contained a rolled sheet of vellum inscribed with a letter penned in 1909 by John Manners the 9th Duke of Rutland and the Marquess of Granby. This document, signed by the Duke, also contained the signatures of Charles Lindsay (great friend and uncle to the Duke and a historian with interest in the Medieval and Tudor eras) and master stonemason, James Toft.
Ten years later, as part of a very special restoration tour hosted by Lord Edward Manners and master stonemason, Mark Eaton, this time-capsule was re-positioned and reburied. Containing another piece of vellum, inscribed by Lord Edward, signed by both Mark Eaton and very special guest, Peter Bown, who is the grandson of James Toft; this little piece of history will be left untouched, in anticipation of it being found by a future generations at Haddon Hall.
Back in March, we welcomed the team from Channel 4 to film a new series called #Timecrashers - did any of you catch the first episode last night?
Hosted by Sir Tony Robinson and social historian, Dr Cassie Newland, the show ‘crashes’ ten celebrities into different eras, the first one being Elizabethan. It was great fun having the hall buzzing full of lords and ladies, maids and squires and the rooms being dressed in period style looked amazing. It even smelt like 1588! The celebrities did a marvellous job and worked so hard, and yes, they really did sleep in the hall!
This year, why not learn some new skills in the magnificent surroundings of Haddon Hall?
We have a varied programme to suit everybody. These workshops are very popular, and to ensure that our learners receive the best teaching we like to keep the groups small. Wonderful for a day out with friends, or to buy as a gift for a crafty friend. If you would like to book a space, or for more information, please call Selina King, Bookings Coordinator on 01629 812855 or visit our website, www.haddonhall.co.uk.
Lavender Workshop Friday 14th August 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
This August, the very talented Julie Mellor will lead a Lavender Workshop that will teach you to create lavender wands and fans. Using lavender from the Haddon Estate, this day long workshop, set in the beautiful surroundings of the Terraced Gardens (weather permitting). Spaces are very limited, cost £45 per person and are inclusive of materials, refreshments and lunch. BOOK ONLINE HERE
Looking at Autumn
Thursday 1st October 10:30 am – 3:00pm
This workshop will appeal to those with an interest in nature and wildlife. Join our Head Warden, Jo Walker on an informative visit to the Haddon Estate Parkland seeking the signs of Autumn and the approaching Winter. Enjoy a lunch in the Haddon Hall Restaurant followed by a workshop learning to make wicker bird feeders to help our feathered friends through the winter. Tickets are limited and cost £45 per person. BOOK ONLINE HERE
Lino Print Making Wednesday 7th October 10:00am – 3:00pm
If crafting is your thing, join us on the 7th October for a Lino Print Making Workshop. Drawing inspiration from Haddon, you will learn how to design, craft and print your own single colour lino print cards. Perfect timing to create your own unique Christmas cards! Tickets are £45 per person and include materials and lunch. BOOK ONLINE HERE
Christmas Decoration Workshop
25th & 26th November 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
Led by Julie Mellor, this popular one day course will inspire you to create decorations for your home. Learn to make a number of different items including evergreen swags, wreaths and table decorations. Tickets are £75 per person and include materials, refreshments and a 3 course festive lunch at The Peacock at Rowsley. The same course will run on both the 25th or 26th November. BOOK ONLINE HERE
Visitors to Haddon in July and August will experience a fascinating exhibition that draws a significant correlation between 21st century photographers and the work of 19th century artists and lithographs. The exhibition, titled ‘Samuel Rayner’s Haddon Hall – Revisited’ looks at the work of Samuel Rayner, artist and author, who in the early part of the 19th century studied intricately the architectural details of Haddon Hall, near Bakewell.
Derbyshire photographers Ian Daisley and Chris Gilbert, both from the Peak District Photography Gallery, approached Lord and Lady Edward Manners of Haddon Hall about the idea of an exhibition. Chris explains the inspiration behind the work: “Rayner was living and working in the Peak District when he created ‘The Antiquities of Haddon Hall’ and we felt that it was important to reconnect with such an important body of work, bringing Rayner and his family’s work back into the public eye and raising awareness.” Chris continues: “Rayner was an exquisite draughtsman. We aim to show through modern day photography just how accurate his depiction of Haddon Hall was.
Visitors to Haddon this summer will see that there is an extraordinary correspondence between Rayner’s hand and eye rendition of the architecture and that achieved by us today, with the camera. The artistic context is the same even if the tools the artists are using are radically different. ” The photographers – five in total – have spent the last few months visiting Haddon and recreating scenes from Rayner’s drawings from the 19th century, setting themselves the challenge of trying to match the sketches as accurately as possible. Rayner’s drawings not only offer incredible detail as to the architecture and immediate landscape of Haddon Hall, but his writings ‘The Antiquities of Haddon Hall’ gave the social context of Haddon, which – at the time of writing in the mid-1830s – was when Haddon Hall was just becoming a popular tourist destination which it remains today, almost 200 years later.
The exhibition will display around 20 of the 35 sketches Rayner produced of Haddon along with modern photographs of the same sites, and will be on view to the visitors to Haddon Hall through July and August. A preview of the exhibition takes place on 8th July.
Lady Edward Manners comments: “We owe a lot to Samuel Rayner and his work capturing Haddon in the middle of the 19th century. His sketches are not only of the roofs, rooms and corners of the hall, but are also beautifully detailed diagrams of Haddon’s incredible and ancient architecture – like the Tudor panelling – which help shape how we work with the house and architecture today. Rayner’s book sheds light on how Haddon functioned at the time of writing, as it existed in its semi-dormant state. Samuel Rayner was undoubtedly a dedicated artist and historian and we know visitors will love this exhibition, comparing his work to the modern shots by Ian and Chris and their colleagues.”
Join us for the launch evening on Wednesday 8th July, tickets are £15 per person and can be booked here. The Rayner exhibition runs at Haddon Hall throughout July and August, from July 11th. Normal admission rates apply- book online for advance prices.
Haddon Hall is the perfect venue for wonderful music. This summer, we have arranged for a wonderful repertoire of artists from the community to perform to our visitors in the Hall and Gardens.
Spend one of our Late Night Openings, sipping a glass of champagne on the terrace whilst enjoying the soothing sounds of The Miller Trio, or while away a Saturday afternoon being serenaded by the Senior Clarinet Ensemble of the Derbyshire Music Centre.
The performance dates are as below:
Derbyshire & South Derbyshire Music Centre
Senior Clarinet Ensemble
Saturday 20th June
Performances at 2:00 pm & 4:00 pm in the gardens
Solo classical guitarist, currently studying at Royal Northern College of Music
Thursday 25 June and Thursday 30 July
Evening performances (gardens or Long Gallery, depending on the weather)
Dalesmen MV Choir (Long Gallery)
Saturday 18th July
Performances at 2:00 pm & 3:15 pm in the Long Gallery
South East Derbyshire Music Centre
Senior Recorder Ensemble
Saturday 18th July
Performances at 2:40 pm & 4:00 pm in the gardens
The Miller Trio (violin, cello, keyboard)
Light classical and popular music
Thursday 27th August
Evening performances in the Long Gallery
(Times, locations and performances are subject to change)
You can purchase tickets at a discounted price here.
Haddon Hall, like so many old buildings, is very attractive to creepy crawlies and other little creatures. We have some amazing examples of spiders living the house. Head Warden Jo is a spider lover, and is often caught up in a crisis of conscience; does she clear away a cobweb so the house looks lovely for visitors, but renders the spider homeless, or does she leave the spider and web intact and hope the visitors understand? Janet, the Hall Manager, is a confirmed Arachnophobe and is of the firm belief that there’s only one kind of good spider – and that’s a dead spider!
Right now, we have a little mouse living in the Guide Room. He’s a cheeky little blighter, and regularly makes the journey from the Guide Room to the drain cover – often surprising visitors on his way. Cute though this little mouse is, Melvyn, our wonderful pest control man, will be brought in to “find him a new home”. We like it when Melvyn visits – he always comes armed with biscuits for the Estate Office staff. The sceptics among you may think this is a marvellous business plan. Biscuits = crumbs = vermin = work for Melvyn! We don’t care. We like biscuits!
Visitors can enjoy watching the hundreds of butterflies and bees in our garden. This year the Cabbage White butterfly is in abundance. It’s a beautiful sight and wonderful to see the new planting working so well to attract these splendid creatures. Look up and there’s often Buzzards circling majestically overhead.
We’ve a couple of swans parading up and down the river right by the bridge. It’s one of the first things visitors see on their approach to the Hall. We consider ourselves priviledged to have these stately waterfowl in our grounds.
Only this morning, a stoat was busy gathering food on the grass by the driveway. His black tipped tail could been clearly seen as he bobbed along in the grass.
There’s so much wildlife here. Next time you visit, take some time to sit quietly and see what comes your way.
Sometimes, a phone call can really make us smile! Just taken a phone call from a rather strongly accented gentleman. He was calling to arrange collection of his Dahlias tomorrow.
Liz, one of our Guides, and currently temping in the office, politely and efficiently explained that she thought he may have the wrong number. No. He said. He’s been coming here for years to get his Dahlias. In fact he was our oldest customer!
Now we all know how wonderful our gardens are at Haddon Hall, but we also know there are absolutely no Dahlias in them. What could be going on?
Liz said she would check and make sure and get back to him. He left his contact details, and we set about consulting the Great God Google. Searching for “Haddon Dahlias” came up with the following:
Halls of Heddon – Dahlia Specialists, based in Heddon on the Wall, Newcastle upon Tyne.
We could see where the confusion arose! Liz called the chap back and explained who we were, and who he actually wanted, and gave him the correct phone number to call. We wish him every success with his Dahlias!
It’s something that, when it comes to opening up for the Summer season, you don’t necessarily factor in. It’s SNOW… and lots of it! Haddon Hall was due to open it’s doors on Thursday 28th March. The weekend before, the snow came, and kept coming. The Monday before we were due to open, there was a good 8 or 9 inches of fresh snow laying all around the house. Definitely picturesque but really not what we wanted to see. Meetings were hastily arranged, and an awful lot of head shaking was done. With no thaw in sight, and constant freezing temperatures, this snow was going nowhere. If we were to stand any chance of opening for Easter, we would need to make arrangements…Fast!
Our main problem was the Car Park; how to get it cleared, and what to do with all the snow we had cleared. It’s too big a job for a man and a snow shovel! Several phone calls later, we had local farmer, Dakin, and his JCB and Wayne, our Woodsman with his snow plough tractor attachment. As Wayne shovelled tonnes of snow into heaps, Dakin expertly scooped it up and deposited it into the field behind. A couple of hours later, the car park was clear, and we could begin to think about the next task.
The Haddon Hall Car Park
The driveway would need to be cleared, as would the steps up to the main entrance. Once in the Courtyard, we cleared a path up the steps, along to the chapel and up into the main house. The rest of the Courtyard was roped off for visitor safety. Sadly, we took the decision that the Gardens would remain closed, until we were happy that the paths were clear enough to walk on.
All was well. We could get visitors into the Hall. But the temperature once they were in there was bitter (hostile, was the word our Hall Manager used to describe it!). How could we encourage them to spend to time in the house? And so the next plan was hatched – Let’s serve complimentary drinks down in the old Kitchens! We’d also light as many fires as possible.
When we open at Christmas, it’s cold too. But at least there’s the candles and trees and other festivities to give the house a warm glow. What could we do to inject a little bit of the so sadly lacking Springtime into the Hall?
Head Warden, Jo Walker, to the rescue, with the help of Robert Young, Matlock Florist extrordinaire, she appeared laden with bunches of daffodils, all still very tightly in bud. The Estate Office then became filled with buckets of warm water into which the daffodils were plunged. Jo, with arms akimbo and a solid nod of the head announced “They’ll be out in time for opening!” And indeed they were.
And so Thursday morning arrived. We’d managed it. We were ready to open to visitors, but would anyone want to come out in the cold weather, with a hint of snow still in the air? Well they did. Admittedly, we had a rather select gathering on Thursday, but at least we had some. The rest of the Easter opening saw plenty of visitors, and by Saturday, the snow had melted sufficiently to allow us to open up the gardens.
It was a shaky start to the season, but there’s one thing for certain; it can only get better from here on in!
Following on the theme of being cold at Haddon Hall. It’s something we all seem to do quite well! Yesterday, as a lunchtime warm up session, we took to the Front Door of Haddon Hall and performed an (almost) impromptu version of the “Harlem Shake” a dance craze currently going viral on the internet. With our portable amplifier pumping out Baauer’s catchy tune, we strutted our stuff and even managed to get the local bin man to take part! To give it a historic edge, we wore the tabards and hats we lend to school groups when they visit. The video is up on YouTube for all to see:
It’s almost the end of February and we should be full of the joys of spring. The Snowdrops are out on the bank in front of the Hall, and the Aubrietia is starting flower on the terrace walls in the garden. Last week, there was a hint of spring in the air, the sun shone and it warmed up a little. This week however, we’re back to the cold, snow threatening weather.