Hardwick Hall here I come!!

So mission accomplished, I have got a full-time paid job with the National Trust, and it is pretty much my dream job too!! I will be working as a Conservation Assistant at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire for 12 months! I cannot tell you how excited I am to have secured this amazing opportunity, and how much that is thanks to the experiences I have gained here at Powis.

I will be very sad to leave Powis Castle, there have been so many fantastic experiences and I have made good friends with so many wonderful people, all in such a stunning location. Everyone has been so nice throughout my time here, and incredibly sweet and helpful in my last few weeks (there have been near tears on my part on several occasions). There will be so many things I will miss and I know I have been a very lucky lass, and continue to be working at another truly amazing NT property.

From National Trust Images

Hardwick Halll

The skills I started to learn at Greyfriar’s, and have built upon at Powis helped me secure my dream job, where I shall continue to build on my skills and hopefully have more amazing opportunities. I shall endeavour to keep my blog going while at Hardwick, but I am afraid there will have to be a little hiatus while I get myself set up (and get my internet connected in my new place). Click here for the Hardwick Hall web page.

Anyway; more about what has been happening here at Powis. Last week was manic, we spent the whole week un-covering all the upstairs rooms ready for opening fully again on Friday 1st. Then we had to do all the little odd jobs to get the castle ship-shape; changing light bulbs, putting new batteries in room alarms and giving the whole place another dust. Considering the fact that we had just finished the deep winter clean in those rooms they were really dusty. However they did not seem to get a real rest this year, as we were still going up to the upper floor regularly  and because we fell behind with the chimney sweeping unfortunately some rooms weren’t swept until after they had been winter cleaned. This meant that although the furniture was covered and stayed clean, the fixtures of the rooms got covered in dirt.

Pretty Powis Castle

Pretty Powis Castle

Once all the prep for opening was done you would have thought we could relax a little, but that was not so. Although the castle is now opening half an hour later than it did last year (12:30) we have a tour going round at 12. The tour take s a slightly different route than our usual visitor route; this means we have to open up for the tour, wait until after the tour and then alter the rooms to how they are presented for regular opening. Add to this our morning light readings, and the regular unexpected happening that always seem to crop up minutes before the doors are opened to the public and we end up running around like mad-people. I am sure that when the teams gets back into the swing of things it will all go much smoother than it has done the last couple of days, we are a bit out of practice.

The tour route is very exciting, it take people into some of the bedrooms that on regular opening they would only be able to view from the door. There is also a handling collection that we are using on the tour, and this is what I have been working the last few weeks. This project really appeals to my love textiles, and I got to go on a shopping trip to the fantastic vintage clothes shop in town. I have been sourcing props and millinery accessories online as well, my advice to anyone undertaking a similar project, Ebay is your friend! We found the same for our winter offer sourcing too.

Some of the fab illustrations

Some of the fab illustrations

Emma lent me some really special Edwardian magazines she has, with fashion articles and adverts in that I got some fantastic images for inspiration from.

Emma's hat with the gloves and hankerchief from Mrs A's

Emma’s hat with the gloves and hankerchief from Mrs A’s

From the fabulous Ashman’s Antiques we bought two pairs of gloves, one netted and one of shammy leather, an ostrich feather fan, a lace hankerchief and an amazing purple (my favourite colour) silk parasol. Mrs A did us a brilliant deal, but we still had a torturous decision to make from all the different items in her vast collection, but I am so pleased with the decision we made. I did end up doing some personal window shopping as well and had to pop back that weekend to buy a silver charm bracelet I had spotted perfect for my bestie; with a book charm (she works in a library), a football (she’s a Baggies supporter) and an elephant (she has the same strange attachment to them that I do to frogs). I do adore that shop!

The parasol in the Lower Tower Bedroom

The parasol in the Lower Tower Bedroom

I have loved working on this project, and will be sad not to be around to work on it some more, and see the hats in there completed state; but I am sure they will look stunning! I have a few other projects to put the final touches too and then this sunday is my last day at Powis. I can guarantee I won’t have much time to be sad as it is also the day of our Baroque Concert hosted by BBC Radio 3, a very exciting last day!

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3 thoughts on “Hardwick Hall here I come!!

  1. What fabulous news – Hardwick Hall is an absolute gem, I went there for the first time about 30 years ago, and it was pretty stuffy, but we took the girls there last year and we all had a wonderful time, and now one of the friendliest places to visit we know. The tapestry collection at Hardwick is mesmerising. If I was you, I’d just spend my whole time glued to the needlework (not literally!). Well done indeed and please blog often once you’re settled!

  2. Congratulations! Very well deserved. We shall miss your ‘behind the scenes’ accounts of Powis Castle. You’ve really enhanced our perception/knowledge of the castle (and we’re just across the Park!). Very best wishes in your new job!

  3. I hope you enjoyed your last day at Powis, Ellen. We’re really looking forward to welcoming you to Hardwick next week! I’ve just found your blog on Twitter (I wasn’t spying, honest!), and by the looks of it you’ll be as much of an asset to us as you have been to Powis. See you soon!

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