An office with a view!

Working on Orford Ness brings with it the privilege of views of some spectacular landscape and coastline. This privilege also brings the hazard of getting distracted, admits Lead Ranger, David Mason…

cuckoo May 2016

My office window has a view of the marshes in the distance and, closer, a patch of bramble and grass, as well as a powerline. It can be very distracting at this time of year as many birds are actively nesting, feeding, perching and singing here.

Today, a stonechat has visited to feed on the grass and a linnet and whitethroat have been singing nearby. Other days might bring a short-eared owl or an avocet, as well as a view of the new born lambs across the field.

Some days I am not sure how I get anything done at all! We have been watching four cuckoos displaying on the bushes and powerlines around the site over the last few weeks.

It is a rare privilege to see these birds as well as hear their evocative call. It has been a bit frustrating trying to take a decent photo though, as they don’t sit still for long and are soon mobbed by small birds trying to chase them away as they try to lay eggs in the nests of meadow pipits, reed buntings and various warblers.

cuckoo2 May 2016

Our dedicated group of bird ringers produced the goods however and even caught one in their ringing nets, which is no mean feat either as they are often difficult to catch as well.
The Ringers, who are licensed by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), carefully apply lightweight metal rings to the bird’s leg. This can reveal useful information about the bird’s movements when it is recovered.

As technology has advanced, new methods of tracking have been developed, which has parallels with the testing and use of telemetry and radar once carried out here at Orford Ness.

The BTO have been carrying out a programme of tagging cuckoos and other birds with electronic tags and tracking these with satellites. They have found that cuckoos follow migratory corridors on their arduous 6,000 mile journeys from the rainforests of the Congo to their summer breeding grounds in the UK.

They have also identified autumn and spring stopover areas within Europe that provide critical resources for the cuckoos as they migrate. This helps identify migratory corridors and key habitats that are vital for cuckoos and other birds and can help other conservationists determine what needs to be done to help protect them throughout their journey.

The BTO have also been tracking the movements of lesser black-backed gulls on Orford Ness using this technology for some while, although not on cuckoos from the Ness as yet.

To find out more about their work with cuckoos, click here for some more detailed information. There is even a Cuckoo called Dave!

Digital technology brings historic tapestries back to Oxburgh

Work has begun to digitally re-create the tapestries that would have once hung in the King’s Room at Oxburgh Hall, returning it to its former ‘Romantic’ appearance.

Edward looking at the tapestry (c) National Trust Morgan Creed

We’re now working with tapestry replication specialists, Zardi & Zardi, who were responsible for the tapestry reproductions featured in the BBCs award winning historical drama Wolf Hall. With the first of the new tapestries now on display in the King’s Room at Oxburgh, several more will be added over the course of the year.

The tapestries, which look authentic, are in fact photographs that have been printed on linen, which has the same weighting and weave as the originals.

Close up of the tapestry reproduction (c) National Trust Morgan Creed

We caught up with Edward Bartlett, House Manager at Oxburgh Hall:

“Owing to the very high-resolution of photography involved, every stitch and every shadow of every stitch can be seen, which makes it very hard not to believe it’s an original part of the collection.

“When the 6th Baronet inherited Oxburgh Hall in the 19th century it was in a poor state of repair. His ancestors had been heavily fined for generations, persecuted for their staunch Catholic faith. However, Sir Henry’s arrival, timed with the relaxation of attitudes to Catholicism, the height of the Gothic revival and his passion for the past, led to the transformation of Oxburgh.

“He furnished the King’s Room with textiles and furniture to commemorate the visit of King Henry VII and his queen, Elizabeth of York, in 1487. He adorned the walls with 16th century ‘heirloom’ tapestries and dressed the bed with embroidered 16th century hangings, worked by Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick, creating perhaps the most important ‘Romantic’ interior at Oxburgh.”

The embroidered hangings remain on display at Oxburgh, but unfortunately the tapestries were sold in the 1920s.

Edward was joined by National Trust Curator, Anna Forrest, to carry out the painstaking research into the lost tapestries and to help inform the creation of the new ones.

Anna added:

“After poring over 19th century watercolours and sepia photographs from the archives it became apparent that the tapestries that originally hung at Oxburgh fell into two categories. Those that were early 16th century South Netherlandish scenes depicting kings, queens and courtly life, or those from the late 16th and 17th century that depicted ‘verdure’ and game parks. Our research also revealed that these tapestries were in fact a patchwork of tapestry scenes.”

The first tapestry to be rehung in the King's Room at Oxburgh (c) National Trust Morgan Creed

Look out for the tapestries when you next visit Oxburgh Hall. Will you be able to tell the difference between an original and these re-productions?

Estate walk renamed in honour of Head Ranger

After 30 years with the National Trust and 26 years looking after Blickling’s 4,500 acre estate, Head Ranger Dave Brady has hung up his work boots for the last time. Now his achievements and dedication to Blickling will be forever remembered as the estate’s longest waymarked walk is re-named ‘Brady’s Walk’ in his honour.

imageDave Brady – photo courtesy of Eastern Daily Press, Antony Kelly

Dave joined the Blickling team in 1990 and since then has worked tirelessly to conserve the beautiful historic landscape and the abundant and diverse wildlife that it offers a home to.

Dave’s achievements over two and a half decades at Blickling are far-reaching. They include his award-winning work on the River Bure restoration for which the countryside team received the Wild Trout Trust and Orvis Conservation awards; as well as restoring the historic woodland areas of Kingshot Copse and Hyde Park, and reverting Tower Park from agriculture to grassland.

His dedication to conservation and wildlife has been inspirational and he has worked tirelessly to increase the diversification and abundance of native species across the estate. This can be clearly seen in the breath-taking swathes of bluebells that sweep across the park every year in May.

Blickling-lo-1The Great Wood at Blickling – photo courtesy of Justin Minns

Dave says that one of his most rewarding pieces of work was working with a group of young students who were on the brink of expulsion from school.

“I found that working with them on the estate and teaching them basic skills helped them to think differently and to feel like they had some value. This was hugely rewarding for me.”

Dave Brady

In fact his work with them was so successful he went on to be nationally awarded and recognised as ‘a vocational ambassador working with schools’.

Inspired by the map of the estate created from the survey carried out by James Corbridge in 1729, Dave has always seen how Blickling’s parkland, house and gardens fit together as one estate and is passionate that this holistic view of Blickling continues.

It is perhaps very apt then, that another of Dave’s retirement presents was a beautiful reproduction of the Corbridge map in a handcrafted frame made from wood from his beloved Blickling Estate. But the gift that visibly moved him was without a doubt the honour of having the estate walk dedicated to him. “It is such a big compliment” he said “you never feel like you deserve it!”

His incredible knowledge and dedication will be missed by everyone here at Blickling. Renaming the estate walk is the perfect way to honour and thank Dave for everything he has done. We wish him all the best on his retirement.

Stopping the countdown to catastrophe for world heritage

Today a globally-renowned heritage leader will warn that apathy towards our world heritage poses a greater risk to it than climate change, war and conflict or natural disasters.

The mounds at Sutton Hoo at sunsetThe mounds at Sutton Hoo – Photo credit Justin Minns

In her first major speech as head of the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO), Dame Fiona Reynolds,  former Director-General of the National Trust and Master of Emmanuel College Cambridge, will outline her stark warning on World Heritage Day. In the speech she will also call for a global commitment to a ten-year plan to increase awareness of the social, spiritual and economic value of international heritage sites

Dame Fiona will highlight in her speech the imminent threats to world heritage and the role that the world’s biggest and broadest heritage membership group can have in saving it.

She will call for UNESCO, WWF and others to join with INTO to commit to a 2025 strategy that will both highlight the benefits of a thriving heritage sector and look at innovative ways to help countries and territories tackle threats on the ground.

“Our INTO members are the canaries in the coal mine. From Fiji to South Korea and Canada to Uganda, our member organisations defend some of the world’s most special places. They are the ones who can see every day and at first hand the effects of climate change, bad planning and apathy towards heritage.

“I asked all of our 66 member organisations that constitute INTO across the world what they saw as the greatest threat to world heritage. I expected climate change, war and conflict or even tourism to be their response. But there was one resounding and clear answer from them – apathy on behalf of both governments and people”.

Dame Fiona Reynolds

World Heritage status is very important but only the tip of the iceberg – less than one per cent of the earth’s surface is designated a World Heritage Site. Even then a recent WWF report showed that half of our natural world heritage sites are under threat from development and exploitation. These are the most notable heritage sites on the planet:  if we can’t protect them, what on earth is going to happen to the rest?

The danger is clear. Unless we act and work towards significantly changing public and official attitudes to heritage, then by 2025, largely through neglect and apathy, we risk letting a large proportion of our built and natural heritage disappear.

Wimpole-lo-70Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire – photo credit Justin Minns

Examples from across the INTO network:

Martindale Hall, South Australia
Entrusted to the nation by a donor in the 1950, the future of Martindale Hall, South Australia, has been in doubt for the past few months as the local government decided to sell it off to a property developer. Inspired by their visit to Wimpole Hall during the INTO conference last year, the National Trust of South Australia is about to start working together with the international National Trust movement on finding a viable future for the property as a heritage-based tourism attraction utilising the buildings and grounds to create a unique destination celebrating its cultural and agricultural heritage.

Merdeka Stadium, Malaysia

When Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, proclaimed Malaysian Independence on 31st August 1957, he stood in the middle of the Stadium field and shouted out “Merdeka” seven times. This scene, often shown on film and in print, is etched on the psyche of all Malaysians. Nevertheless the stadium was nearly demolished in the 1990s. It was the National Trust, Badan Warisan Malaysia, that was able to help save Merdeka as part of a public-private partnership and today the stadium has a new lease of life for sporting events and concerts alongside “The Road to Nationhood” museum.

Plémont, Jersey

The Trust has been fighting for years to address coastal blight. Since the 1930s, the coast at Plémont had been scarred with the development of a series of holiday camps. When such holidays went into decline the site became vulnerable to redevelopment proposals commencing with an application in 1998 for 117 residential units.

In January 2000, The National Trust for Jersey (NTJ) began campaigning for the site to be “returned to nature”.  Eventually the ‘Love Plemont’ project – after many ups and downs – resulted in the safeguarding of 11.3 acres of coastal headland in 2014 which is now slowly being returned to nature.

Bickenbach country house, Cochabamba, Bolivia

Sdenka Fuertes, a young Bolivian architect, received death threats when trying to save and protect the Bickenbach country house in Cochabamba.  Built in the Moorish style for the German family of Ernesto Bickenbach, the house and its garden setting became neglected and at risk of redevelopment. After a lengthy and menacing battle, the Bolivian Society for Historical Studies, Heritage and Restoration lobbied for the house to be expropriated and put to cultural use for the benefit of the city. The society also successfully used ICOMOS’s 1981 Florence Charter to argue that the historic garden could not be separated from the house which accompanies it and have managed to keep the site intact for future generations.

National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Four years ago, the National Trust ran a successful campaign against the government’s plans to unpick England’s planning legislation. The threat has not gone away however and the planning system is still in jeopardy today. The Trust is worried about a great raft of government initiatives which threaten to undermine some of the changes won back in 2012, such as the pressure on Green Belts to be allocated for housing (Christchurch has reduced theirs by 6% and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne by 9%) and the incorrect application of policies designed to protect Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (including the recent decision to grant permission for the huge potash mine in the North York Moors national park).

Back in 1907, Sir Robert Hunter, one of the National Trust’s founders, expressed what he saw as the Trust’s role within the broader debate on land use. He talks about the efforts of all three founders to influence parliamentary bills proposing development on common land or the construction of railways through areas such as Snowdonia and the Lake District and comments on the young National Trust that ‘Its work is by no means confined to the purchase of Places of Interest and Beauty. It fosters action to protect such Places, to ward disaster and to stimulate municipal and private opinion’.

Czech National Trust

“The Communist era was damaging to heritage in Czechoslovakia. It left properties uncared for and instilled in people a feeling that heritage had nothing to do with them, it was for the state to care. The big challenge is to reconnect people with their heritage and restart a culture of volunteering” says Chairman, Dr Irena Edwards.

Facts and figures:

  • 45% of local authorities are considering selling or passing on management of green space to others (State of UK Public Parks, Heritage Lottery Fund, 2014)
  • 90% of trendy bars and restaurants of the five major US cities are in historic buildings (National Trust for Historic Preservation)
  • Canadians have lost more than 20% of their heritage places in the last 30 years (National Trust for Canada)
  • Twenty rural villages are destroyed by developers every day (Ruan Yisan Heritage Foundation, China)


Wimpole’s Gothic Tower among EU prize winners for cultural heritage

The recently restored 18th century Gothic Tower at Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire is among the winners of the 2016 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s highest honour in the heritage field.

WimpoleFolly-lo-10 (1)Photo credit: Justin Minns

The Awards recognise exemplary achievements in the categories of conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising.

Wimpole’s Gothic Tower, which we’ve talked about on our blog last year, is one of only two UK winners in the ‘Conservation’ category of the Awards, which were revealed today by the European Commission and Europa Nostra.

The Gothic Tower, designed to look like a picturesque medieval ruin, is based on a sketch by the architect Sanderson Miller in 1749 for his patron, Lord Hardwicke, the owner of Wimpole.

The design was later realised in an amended form under the supervision of the great landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown from 1768-72.

In the following centuries, the ruin suffered extensive and gradual damage with many important characteristics being completely eroded while public access to the Tower and landscape was near enough impossible.

Located in the magnificent parkland of Wimpole Estate, the Gothic Tower presented a complex conservation challenge for us here at the National Trust. The work called for repair of the structure, stabilization of the stonework and reinstatement of missing components of the building, while preserving the weathered beauty and original ‘ruined’ appearance.

The completion of the project means that visitors can now explore the Tower and surrounding area and enjoy magnificent views across the estate once more.

Photo credit: Justin Minns

Here’s what Wendy Monkhouse, National Trust Curator in the East of England had to say:

“We’re delighted to have been recognized by the European Commission and Europa Nostra for the work we’ve done on the Gothic Tower – it’s the most prestigious heritage award in Europe, and it means a lot to the National Trust and to the staff and volunteers at Wimpole.

“The success of the project has been achieved by understanding the building and its needs, painstaking research, and meticulous attention to detail, to enable a stone by stone conservation to be undertaken. This standard of conservation was made possible by funding managed by Natural England, some special bequests to the National Trust, and the support from our members.

“Many people know and love the magnificent mansion and the 18th century farm, but the Tower was an almost forgotten ruin – a kind of sleeping beauty, literally surrounded by briar roses and nettles. Now, with its reinstated crenellations triumphant on the main Tower, it sits once more at the focal point of the landscape designed by Capability Brown, whose tercentenary we are celebrating this year.”

In assessing Wimpole’s Gothic Tower, the Awards jury commented: “Intellectually, this project raises questions about the preservation of a designed ruin and inspires thought about the nature of conservation. It is informed by detailed research and archaeological recordings and is a model of cooperative endeavor. This is an extraordinary example of a restoration of an iconic ruin which has served as an example for the construction of similar structures in Europe.”

Wimpole Hall and estae - restoration work on Folly. Photo : NT/Phil Mynott
Photo credit: Phil Mynott

For the 2016 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, independent expert juries assessed a total of 187 applications, submitted by organisations and individuals from 36 countries across Europe, and selected the winners.

The other projects from the UK that won awards this year were: in the Conservation category, the Knockando Woolmill in Aberlour, Moray; in the Research category, the Prehistoric Picture Project. Pitoti: Digital Rock-Art, Cambridge; and in the Education, Training and Awareness-Raising, the programme ‘Heritage Schools’, Bristol.

Along with the other 27 award winners, Wimpole’s Gothic Tower will be further considered for one of seven Grand Prix awards along with one chosen in a public vote. Members of the public can now vote online for the Public Choice Award to support their favourite project. The Grand Prix and Public Choice Awards will be announced as part of a high-profile event celebrating the winners on 24 May in Madrid.

Panes-taking operation at Felbrigg


Over the winter, stained glass panels from the west window in the Great Hall at Felbrigg were removed and sent away for conservation. We’ve also been conserving the curtain pelmets in the Dining Room. Now it’s time for their return.

Felbrigg glass conservation (credit) Paul Bailey

We caught up with Louise Green, the House Manager at Felbrigg Hall…

The Great Hall stained glass

IA detail of the stained glass panel, The Apostles, at St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich, on loan from Felbrigg Hall.n the 1840s William Howe Windham renovated the Great Hall and in doing so introduced a beautiful collection of stained glass. The majority of which was made and installed by John Dixon, who was also employed at St Peter Mancroft in Norwich, which is not only where he got his inspiration, but some of the original 15th century panels.

This winter it got to a stage where essential conservation work was needed to ensure their survival, so we called upon stained glass specialists Jonathan and Ruth Cooke to help us. They’ve managed to stabilise the lead work to keep the stained glass secure. They’ve also cleaned the glass where necessary in order to reveal the original beauty and delicacy of the design that previously had been hidden under years of accumulated dirt.

Conserving Felbrigg’s pelmets

As well as conservation work to the window’s, you can also watch this short video, which follows our 18 month conservation project of the pelmets and curtains that now hang in the Drawing Room here at Felbrigg Hall. Over time the silk damask had become damaged by light and needed stabilising, new linings have been added, damaged wooden baubles replaced and the curtains cleaned.

It’s thanks to the support of our members that we’ve been able to carry out this work. We can’t wait to show you the newly conserved glass and pelmets on your next visit to Felbrigg.

Photos courtesy of Paul Bailey and Pete Huggins

Lift off at Horsey Windpump!

This week we kicked off an ambitious and exciting three phase restoration project at Horsey that will not only see the sails replaced, but aims to restore the Windpump to full working order.

Horsey-lo-34 (1)All images courtesy of Justin Minns

Alex Green, from the Horsey team talked to us about the project…

Two years ago the sails were removed from Horsey Windpump after they become rotten and started to fall apart. Now work will begin to bring this Windpump back to life, a stepping-stone towards getting her fully operational and working in the Norfolk landscape once more.

The current cap from which the sails were removed has also rotten and this was removed from the top of the tower by a sixty tonne crane on Wednesday. It’s been placed on the ground beside it, ready to be loaded onto a lorry and transported to our millwright’s workshop.


Over the course of the next year, the cap and structure will be repaired and conserved, with the sails re-made to a historic pattern.

“Horsey Windpump is an important part of our industrial heritage and as a charity the National Trust believes that we should protect and conserve our special and historic places.”

John Sizer, General Manager for Horsey Windpump

The Windpump was the last to be built in the Broads in 1912, by the famous Ludham millwright Dan England. It was built on the site of an earlier ‘Black Mill’ and has a dramatic history that includes flooding and lightning strikes.


Before the lift took place, we used sophisticated monitoring equipment to constantly monitor the building as there was a concern it had a lean. We now know that in the sunshine the building leans over half a degree, but when it cools down it moves back again. As much as we could plan for the lift of the cap, we couldn’t predict what impact the removal of its weight would have on the structure. So it was a delicate process and the operation was carried out slowly and with the upmost care.

“The principals involved in taking a mill cap down are quite simple, however the reason for taking them down is usually rotten timbers, so each mill varies considerably and my plans on where to lift could easily change on the day.”

Tim Whiting, the project’s millwright

There are always problems that don’t show themselves until after the work has started and lifting the cap off can uncover all sorts of unknown issues but we are always prepared for this. However, the biggest worry is always weather, we needed wind of ten miles per hour or less to be happy. And of course no rain.


The National Trust has committed to spending £244,000 to complete phase one which will see the cap and sails reinstated. The new cap will rotate to face the sails into the wind giving a different view of Horsey Windpump every single day. You can follow our progress here.

Colchester Zoo’s breeding programme helps introduce rare moth to Essex Coast

Today batches of eggs from Colchester Zoo’s breeding programme for Fisher’s Estuarine Moth, one of Britain’s rarest moths, are to be introduced onto the National Trust’s Copt Hall Marshes, following habitat creation for the moth in a bid to help secure its future.  


The Fisher’s Estuarine Moth is one of Britain’s rarest moths. Following habitat creation for this moth at Copt Hall and Colchester Zoo’s native breeding programme, we’re hoping to help secure its future.

The eggs initially originated from Skipper’s Island Nature Reserve, an Essex Wildlife Trust site, which holds the core population of the moth. Thanks to a licence from Natural England, eggs were collected from the reserve for this breeding programme, which hopes to introduce the species to newly created habiat sites around Essex.

The 2015 breeding programme was successful, with emergent females laying 14 batches of eggs. With each batch containing over 100 eggs, there are plenty of eggs to release onto Copt Hall. We’re hopeful that the caterpillars should emerge from these eggs in mid to late April.

Why Copt Hall Marshes?

Well, this is one of 27 new sites planted with the caterpillar’s sole food, Hog’s Fennel.

The habitat at Copt Hall is now ideal for the introduction of the moth, showing how well the habitat has established since our extensive efforts and support from Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agri-environment scheme.

The main areas of the moth’s habitat are very vulnerable to flooding and it is likely that the incidences of flooding will become more frequent and even more severe in the future as a consequence of climate change.

To secure the long-term future of Fisher’s Estuarine Moth in the UK it has been necessary to create a landscape-scale network of sites on higher ground – away from the threat of flooding. To date, the creation of habitat for this species has involved planting over 38,000 Hog’s Fennel plants.

This project is a fine example of putting scientific knowledge into practice to conserve a threatened species.

Research and Conservation Director at Colchester Zoo, Rebecca Perry:

“We are delighted by the continuing success of this project.  A captive population provided by Colchester Zoo will ensure that there is a readily available supply of these moths to introduce into new sites when conditions are suitable and it will mean that small and vulnerable naturally occurring populations are not relied upon for this supply in the future.”

We hope that the outlook for the Fisher’s Estuarine Moth will be more favourable into the future.

Stuart Banks from the National Trust at Copt Hall:

“We’ve been looking forward to this day since we started planting the hog’s fennel back in 2010 and are very pleased to finally be introducing these eggs.  It’s an important step forward, working on a landscape scale to help safeguard this unique, Essex species from sea level rise and it’s really exciting to work with partners at Essex Biodiversity Project, Colchester Zoo and Natural England along the coast to help safeguard this species for the future”


Surveys reveal Norfolk Coast as the wildlife jewel in the National Trust’s coastal crown

Thousands of nature lovers and wildlife experts helped the National Trust record more than 3,400 species at twenty five of its places along the coast last year, in our largest ever wildlife survey – including right here on the Norfolk Coast.

A Balearic shearwater, seen for the first time in Norfolk. Photo credit Joe Pender.

Working with members of the public, staff and volunteers from Natural England, RSPB, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, CITiZAN and various wildlife experts, we raced against the clock to record as many species as possible over 24 hours.

Brancaster Estate which carried out its bioblitz in July topped the table with 1,018 species, the only site in the National Trust which exceeded 1000 species. Surveys were carried out across the estate including on Scolt Head Island National Nature Reserve and also Brancaster Beach.

Six weeks later in early September the National Trust team ran a second bioblitz on Blakeney National Nature Reserve and recorded 934 species which saw it placed second overall behind Brancaster.

The BioBlitz surveys recorded a handful of wildlife firsts on the Norfolk coast. These included the first ever recorded sightings of Balearic shearwaters, Puffinus mauretanicus, at Blakeney and the Moss Carder bee, Bombus (Thoracobombus) at Brancaster.

“We only had 24 hours to survey wildlife at Blakeney. I used every single one. From surveying for owls at midnight to leading bat walks for families the following evening. The bioblitz volunteers helped us find species we didn’t know we had, like the White-letter hairstreak  butterfly. As a ranger, having that expert help will prove invaluable. If you don’t know what species you’ve got, you don’t know how to look after them.”

Keith Miller, Coastal Ranger at Brancaster

The National Trust team on the Norfolk Coast are delighted with the survey results and taking the top two spots of all twenty-five coastal sites across the National Trust shows just how valuable and important the Norfolk coast as a whole is for nature conservation and the richness of the biodiversity.

The data from these bioblitzes will play an important part in giving us a greater understanding of the species that live along our coastline.

The shifting nature of our shoreline means that we need to think ahead about what is happening to coastal habitats and how we might secure the future of the wildlife that lives by the sea. The National Trust is working alongside partners at coastal landscapes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to create space for nature to move on a much greater scale.

1960s country house style returns to Anglesey Abbey

Anglesey Abbey’s Newmarket Corridor has re-opened to visitors following completion of a two year restoration project to redecorate and furnish it in the 1960s style chosen by former owner, 1st Lord Fairhaven.  

Visitor inspecting a painting in the Newmarket Corridor at Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire

Photo credits National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

The Newmarket Corridor, so named because guests, including the Queen Mother, would stay there during the Newmarket races, had in later years been modernised. But gradually the decoration had become tired and in need of attention. So staff took the opportunity to research its earlier decoration and reinstate Lord Fairhaven’s glamorous schemes.

529A6781The Newmarket Bedroom

Research into inventories from the house from the 1920s and the 1940s, as well as textile archives and swatches, have enabled specialists to achieve an accurate recreation of the furnishing and decoration of the Newmarket Corridor. Furniture, fabrics, carpets and paint finishes now reflect how the rooms looked in the 1960s.

529A6817The Newmarket Bathroom

Textile designers were commissioned to reproduce five fabric designs, all of which had originally been purchased by Lord Fairhaven. These have evocative names such as “Santiago” depicting galleons in full sail. “Basket & Drapery” a bold terracotta design with floral swags and “Tropical Leaf”, a jazzy design with banana leaves and palm fronds.

The project has enabled significant conservation of furniture and objects that were in the rooms, including the restoration of five clocks.

These rooms now reflect Lord Fairhaven’s tastes and wishes and are further evidence of his eye for detail, and allow us to see the suite as he intended.

2016 also marks 50 years since Anglesey Abbey was given to the National Trust and we will be celebrating with a programme of exhibitions focussing on Lord Fairhaven’s life across a number of themes including his collections, family life and his aspirations for Anglesey Abbey.