New Year, New Job, New Blog!

Hello All.

Firstly thank you all for your lovely comments on my last post, I am seriously busy in my new role but loving every minute of it!

Secondly, big decision made.

After a lot of faffing around with ways to get past WordPress limits it seems there is only one thing for it, I have to start a new blog!

It appears I have added too many pretty pictures over the years and have totally run out of storage space on my WordPress, so to save paying lots of money every year or having to delete my old posts I have started up another blog, to continue where this one has left off.

My new blog address is:

It is quite good timing really because I can record all my new adventures on my new blog and keep my memories here on my old blog intact.

I have also now learnt to reduce my photo sizes (yes I know Mother, you told me to do this months ago, well I got there eventually) so this one should last me eons, or maybe at least until retirement.

The first two post are already up on the new blog, all about my holiday to Norway over Christmas.

I can still put text posts on this blog so I shall put up links to new blog posts on the other side, but I hope you will all pop over to the new blog and that you continue to enjoy my adventures in the world of heritage!

Thanks for bearing with me, thank you for reading and I hope to see you soon!




A lovely birthday in Leeds

It was my birthday at the end of March and what better way to spend my birthday than at one of my favorite ever museums, Leeds Royal Armouries!


That banner is made of chainmail btw!

Leeds Armouries has always been one of my favorite places to spend the day; family days out, watching the joust with cousins, to getting the £1 summer holidays bus deal from Huddersfield, spending hours there with so many of my favorite people. I even used the museum as a case study in one of the essays I wrote while I was at uni.

Pretty amour

Pretty amour

Even though I have been many times before I always managed to spot something new that I had never noticed. And there are so many fascinating and pretty things there, I don’t think I could ever get bored.

The famous Hall of Steel

The famous Hall of Steel

It has been a few years since I last visited so I was really excited to go back, especially as my good friend has just started working there too. We did nearly get a little lost because in the intervening years the area around the Armouries has sprung up, it’s almost unrecognisable but thanks to those trusty brown signs we found our way.

My very lovely little brother indulged me all day so we spent hours in the Armouries, with a little pizza break halfway through at the convenient Pizza Express right on the doorstep! I got to re-visit the elephant armour I have always loved, that originally came from Powis Castle!



I love the interactives in the War Gallery, including holding swords, pulling bows and a quiz on different types of weaponry (which me & Jake aced!). Behind one of these interactives is also a video that I love to watch, a man in a full suite of armour doing a cartwheel!! The video is to prove that it can be done but I just keep imagining my friends who own similar get ups attempting it and the outcome probably not being quite the same. I can tell you one thing, I wouldn’t even attempt it for fear of seriously injuring myself and whoever I landed on top of!

Jake playing with one of the interactives

Jake playing with one of the interactives

So much of the collection at the Armouries is not only functional but also really beautiful. I love that something made for such a practical and often not very friendly purposes is also an object of beauty.

More pretty armour

More pretty armour

A slightly random little detail I liked where the stands for the guns in the upper section of the war gallery. The display focuses on WW1 and showcases the evolution of weaponry throughout the conflict, very interesting. The stands for the guns are metal hands, showing how the items would have been held, a really clever idea.

The handy stands

The handy stands

Though the collection at the Armouries obviously has a large part to do with war and violence the Armouries take an admirable stance on educating about the importance of peace, with several displays talking about work being done to end war and violence. I find the most shocking and interesting gallery is their ‘Self Defense’ gallery where they include a display of weapons handed over during a weapons amnesty in Leeds. It is a very emotive display and I thinks it sends a really powerful and important message.

More pretty things

More pretty things

The self defense gallery shows items used for personal protection throughout the ages, including this little piece that I have always liked for just how over the top it is. It is an Apache Revolver and combines a gun, knuckle duster and knife. Talk about over kill!



We also discovered on our visit that there was some conservation work happening live! I was very excited about this and dragged Jake off to see it.To tie in with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo the Armouries are cleaning and restoring the model scene of the battle. There is a post about the work on the Royal Armouries Blog with some fantastic photos of the detail of the pieces!


It looks like a project that you could really get stuck into, a long haul but very rewarding in the end I’m sure. The whole thing is being cleaned but some of the lead figures have corroded. Where this has happened limbs might be missing so conservators are remodeling pieces and restoring the figures. It sounds like very delicate work on a tiny scale! Conservator Cym was kind enough to pose for a photo for me with the sections she is currently working on. Each section is about one meter squared in size and there are ten in total. Keep up the good work guys and thanks for sharing!


The gallery that often comes closest to being my absolute favorite (it’s a very tight competition) is the Oriental gallery, for the amazing beauty and craft in so many of the objects. This gallery also has some really fascinating videos to watch, so we spent a lot of time in here. I just love the attention to detail that has gone into making these objects so ornate.


Beautiful stirrups

This coat of plates also features some amazing embroidery. It is an 18th Century Chinese Cavalryman’s Brigandine, pretty and practical.


And there are sparkles on these handles encrusted with mother of pearl. Beautiful!


I already can’t wait for my next visit, to see what changes between now and then and discover something else I’ve never spotted before. Quite jealous I can’t be there for the amazing Easter joust this weekend but I’ve been working. Well . . . there is always next year! All in all an awesome way to spend my birthday!

Major Lord John Spencer Cavendish

Lord John's Armour displayed in the Entrance Hall

I have been really interested in all of the events commemorating the centenary of the First World War and was hoping I could contribute in some small way.

Hardwick has its own connection to the war in one of the members of the Cavendish family, affectionately known as ‘Lord John’.

We have Lord John’s suit of armour on display in the back of the Entrance Hall, and I had never really though about its history or the man who had owned it. With it being a suit of armour I didn’t even consider that it could have such a connection to the First World War. The two images, ‘knight in shining armour’ and ‘tommy in the trenches’, seem like they should be hundreds of years apart and not within the span of one man’s career.

Lord John was born on the 25th March 1875 to Emma Elizabeth Lascelles and Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Edward Cavendish, has was the youngest of their three sons.

As the youngest son John would not inherit the family property, or be expected to follow his father into politics, so he made the military his career. He joined the First Regiment of Life Guards, a Cavalry Regiment, on the 3rd February 1897.

He was part of the First Regiment of Life Guards and served with distinction in the South African Was, for which he was awarded a Distinguished Service Order in April 1901. When the Great War broke out in 1914 Lord John joined the British Expeditionary Forces and was deployed to France on the 16th August 1914.

Less than three months later on the 20th October 1914 Major Lord John Spencer Cavendish was killed in action.

An account of John’s death by an unknown soldier, dated 24th October 1914, who served alongside him recalls that John was killed instantly by German Maxim Machine Gun fire whilst leading a regiment trying to hold the line in the village. The account talks about how well liked John was, saying that he was so nice to work with, and how much his regiments would feel his loss.

After his death Lord John’s family received a huge number of letters of condolence, showing how well thought of he, and his family, were thought of. Lord John had a successful military career earning the respect of those he served with and recognition for his good service.

I started my search for information within Hardwick’s own information, then looking on Google (where else!) where I found a website that catalogs graves:

The Find A Grave website was really useful for getting the basic information and then using, a brilliant site for this sort of research, I was able to flesh out the story a little more. I typed in the little bits of information I had found already and Ancestry recommended sources it thought matched, so helpful. I ended up finding several scanned images of primary sources which were absolutely fascinating!

Finally I contacted Chatsworth Archives to see if they could help me with any information about the actual circumstances of Lord John’s death. All I had up to this point was dates when things happened, but no details which was frustrating. I had though they would be too busy to help but they were really helpful and had a number of sources, including the account of Lord John’s I mentioned above.

I have really enjoyed doing this project and even though the story had a tragic end it was nice to know Lord John was so well though of, I have become rather fond of him! On monday I shall be remembering Major Lord John Spencer Cavendish and the men like him who served in the Great War for what they believed was right.

If you want to find some more information about the events taking place over the next four years or about the men who gave their live in the Great War I have included some links I found interesting and useful below.

First World War Centenary Information:

Lives of the First World War:

Every Man Remembered:

Imperial War Museums:

The September issue of House Matters is out!

Just wanted to share with you all Hardwick’s House Matters bulletin, written by my brilliant colleague Claire!


Image for website link
House Matters is the monthly newsletter produced by the Conservation Team at Hardwick Hall. We hope you enjoy reading of our latest projects and interesting facts about how we care for the house and collection.

Newsletter – House Matters September 2014

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Gideon through time

Just wanted to share with you this amazing video re-colouring one of our Gideon tapestries. It gives us a glimpse into the past, showing what the tapestry would have looked like when Bess hung it on the Long Gallery walls all those many years ago, fascinating!

Textile Conservation Studio

Have you ever wondered what our tapestries would have looked like with their original unfaded colours?

Take a look at this brilliant digital representation of one of the 16th century Gideon tapestries from Hardwick Hall. See it fade from it’s original colours through to what we see now – 450 years later.

There are 13 of these tapestries, 10 have been conserved with the 11th currently in the studio and fundraising for the remaining two ongoing to preserve them for the next 100 years.

Thanks to our colleagues at Hardwick Hall and Rusty Monkey Ltd for this video and to Chris Tims who took the original photos.

Video and digital colour restoration by Rusty Monkey Ltd

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