Netherby News January/ February 2017
We apologise for the delay in providing you with an update on the events as they have been happening here at Netherby Hall but better late than never and we have so much to catch up on.
The Christmas Carol Concert in the Oak Hall with the Paisley Abbey Choir and Musicians (including our own Margo Smith) was very well supported and we hope to welcome them back again this year.
The refurbishment of Middle Lodge is coming along well. This is going to become a self-catering holiday let and it won’t be long until it is available to welcome its first visitors. The windows have been repaired to their original condition and the sandstone ordered for the chimney has arrived but we need to wait until the weather picks up before work can begin on restoring the chimney.
In the main house re-configuration of the 5 apartments in the North Wing into 3 luxury self-catering holiday units is well underway.
Bringing the stables back to life with carriage driving horses in the boxes and stalls and carriages in the coach houses is very much a part of our vision and work is due to start on this aspect of the restoration work in the summer once the apartments are finished. In keeping with this, we have decided to name the holiday apartments after some of the coaches that used to carry passengers at breakneck speed on the turnpike roads in the nineteenth century. The names have still to be finalised but it would be surprising if the rare Lakeland coach ‘Salutation’ owned by the Smith’s doesn’t make the final cut.
The joiners from Croft View Construction are currently working on repairing the windows of Netherby Hall and are doing a fantastic job. The repairs themselves are very time consuming with each window taking around a week to ten days to complete. The confidence and skills of the joiners involved shows in their work.
Etched into a pain of glass located in one of bedrooms are three pairs of initials. After hours of research I believe these to be that of:
1937 was the year in which they moved into Netherby Hall having made major repairs and alterations following ten years during which the house had stood empty.
The Walled Garden is coming along beautifully
With the installation of decorative water taps and the extended grass hedges the Gardens are starting to come to life. The doorways in the South wall have been repositioned and will soon be accompanied by new wrought iron gates, made to match that in the doorway in the West wall. The vegetable seedlings are currently being personally nurtured by the newly appointed Head Gardner, Mark Jeffery who has joined us from the National Trust. Mark has spent nearly 7 years in both Argyl and Culross, Fyfe. During his time in Fyfe Mark specialised in growing herbs and vegetables. Mark has 30 years of experience when it comes to gardening and pays particular attention to his other speciality of Garden History, this will come in handy at Netherby Hall!
The ornamental beds are to be planted very soon and Mark has advised me that the new fruit trees and rambling roses will be planted this week.
Preparations have already taken place for Netherby Hall to create their very own apple arches, just like Prince Charles’s ones at Highgrove! Ours will take a few years to become as beautiful, but it will be worth the wait.
By clicking on the attached link, you will see what I mean. https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/16536723608357495/
Two large glasshouses modelled on those that used to stand against the inside of the North wall are currently being constructed by Foster and Pearson in their factory in West Sussex (the spans are so large that they had to source timber from a sawmill in Canada that specialises in masts for ships). We hope they will be ready to be installed by late spring and in the meantime, we have put up two temporary polytunnels alongside the Walled Garden.
The tenders are now in for the renovation of the two cottages and backsheds attached to the North wall of the Walled Garden. Work is due to start on these in March with completion due in October.
Netherby Hall Events
Now as a change from the renovation work we have a lot going on at Netherby Hall this coming year and I wanted you to be the first to know about the exiting events we have coming up:
Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea – Sunday 26th March 2017,
served from 1pm to 3pm, £20 per person, GIFT VOUCHERS AVAILABLE
Call 01228 792732 or e-mail email@example.com to reserve your seat in the Great Hall. Seating is limited so book early.
Promise Auction hosted by Croft View Construction on Saturday 22nd April – This is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. 100% of the money raised will be going direct to the charity. The money will then be given to Skiddle.com as this will go towards their fundraising effort to raise 100k for the charity, this is a cause very close to Adam and Ali’s heart. The evening will be formal dress/black tie. Tickets are £20 each including a welcome drink and canapes, tickets are open to the general public and can be purchased directly from Croft View via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). We hope to have a fun relaxed evening and raise lots of money for this great cause in both the auction and raffle.
Scarecrow Festival – We look forward to welcoming back the scarecrow festival some time in July, places can now be reserved…. Get your thinking caps on as the time will fly by.
Classic and Vintage Car Show – This was a very popular event last year and the second annual Netherby Hall Classic and Vintage Car Show will take place on 20th August 2017. It is open to the public from 11am to 4pm and entry will be £5.00, however should you be showing a car entry is free for the vehicle, driver plus one additional guest. This year we are hoping to enlist around 110 vehicles. Slots for this year can now be reserved. Call 01228 792732 or e-mail email@example.com
Walled Garden Open Day – This is a new event to Netherby Hall and we hope it will be a regular addition to our calendar. Watch this space or our Facebook page for updates.
Christmas Craft Fair – Due to its great success last year we have re-schedule this event for the end of November. If you want to get ahead of the game, reserve you space now. Call 01228 792732 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Netherby News July / August
The leaves have started to fall from the trees creating beautiful colours in the grounds. However, this does mean we are waving goodbye to summer for another year. Another summer which has seen a large progression with the restoration work here at Netherby Hall along with several successful outdoor events.
If you have driven past the entrance to Netherby Hall, you will have seen the refurbishment of Middle Lodge is underway. The roof has been made safe and water tight and the rotten decorative timbers replaced. The windows are currently boarded up as the joiners start the large job of restoring and repairing all the current windows. New sandstones have been ordered to allow the chimney nearest to the road to be brought back to working condition.
As you enter the North Wing of the house you are hit by a ball of dust and the lovely singing voices of the contractors. Work is well underway re-configuring 5 apartments into 3 self-catering holiday units. As I sit writing this the fifth full skip has just driven pass. This alone explains the great amount of work which is being carried out. The project has a timescale of 6 months and the team look forward to welcoming visitors soon after. We have decided to name each apartment after a famous nineteenth century horse-drawn coach to reflect the restoration of the stables and coach houses to their original function.
Work in the Walled Garden is progressing. Foundations are in place for the two glasses house which are due to arrive spring 2017. The glass houses will help with the growing process for the more exotic products. Rope edging is in place to outline the beds which will be the home of the kitchen garden and herbaceous boards. The kitchen garden will provide the veg which will be used by the chef at the Bridge Inn. Cut flowers will be taken from the herbaceous boards to decorate the Hall and the Inn. We are looking to create apple arches similar to those at Highgrove. The fruit produced from the trees will be used at the Inn along with being the key ingredient for preserves. The Walled Garden will be well balanced between a productive space and a pretty attraction for visitors. The wall has been reinstated with contractors sourcing sandstone to match the existing and new sandstone coping stones.
During the surveying of the cottages built into the North wall of the garden we discovered the date 1786 scored into one of the main timbers. This indicates that the original structure may be significantly older than previously thought – eighteenth rather than nineteenth century.
The newest project, The Bridge Inn is still being worked on. Architects and engineers have been working away in the background designing the plans which are now with the planning officers. If planning is granted the next step is to identify contractors to start the building work on the project. Once the work has been completed the Inn will have 10 bedrooms for overnight guests, a high standard restaurant along with a public bar area where pub food will be served.
July 2015 saw the gates of Netherby Hall being opened to the public for the first time in many years when the grounds played host to a Scarecrow festival. Following the great success of this event, the festival returned over the weekend of 23rd and 24th July. Another successful weekend was had with many local businesses, groups and individuals getting involved. Saturday saw a fabulous flying display from Silverband Falconry. The only blip was when the falconer’s Barn Owl decided he liked it the view from large Beech tree in the ground and stayed up there until 4 pm. The heavens opened on Sunday but this did not put off our enthusiastic visitors. With Longtown Fire service on site showing children around an engine and Netherby Hall’s team of coach horses making an appearance it was a great day, even if we were all soaked.
Our first Vintage and Classic car show took place on Sunday 14th August and was a great success. Over 80 proud owners brought their cars to exhibit in front of the wonderful historic house. With nearly 400 paying visitors taking the opportunity to see a great collection of vehicles from Aston Martins to a classic fiat 500. To add to the day Border Hog roast served the visitors hot and cold refreshments from their vintage catering van, very fitting with the theme of the day. This is an event I am more than sure will return again next year.
Late September we served Afternoon Tea in The Great Oak Hall. The feedback from visitors has been great and the event was repeated on Wednesday 2nd November.
Another lovely afternoon with visitors enjoying lovely treats which were prepared by our very own Mary Berry.
As Christmas is just around the corner final arrangements are being made for our Christmas Craft Fayre. The Fayre will see a wide range of producers filling The Great Oak Hall. Doors will open from 11 am until 4 pm. Admission price £3, children are free. A “Pop up” tea room will be open serving light refreshments.
Saturday 10th December will see Paisley Abbey Choir and Instrumentalists returning to Netherby to get us all in the Christmas Spirit. They will be performing at 4 pm and 6:30 pm and tickets are £15 including complimentary mince pie and mulled wine served on arrival. To reserve your tickets please contact 01228 792732.
Netherby Hall’s team of coach horses made the long trip down to the Royal Berkshire show. The hours spent sitting in horrid traffic was worth it as the team came a very respectable 3rd in a strong class. 10 teams are judged on three different disciplines. First they have to stand in a line up while the judge checks harness and the horses for turn out. All the teams then set off on an 8-mile drive where the judge pop ups on the more complex parts of the course, i.e. down a steep hill, on a tight bend, to see how the horses and coachman handles the reins. The final section is a show in the main area, this gives each team a chance to show the judge how their horses perform.
The commencement date for the refurbishment of the Victorian Stables is drawing closer. With this in mind, a new carriage has been purchased from the late Lord Ballyedmond’s carriage collection. The carriage is a Private Omnibus and was built to suit a pair or a team of horses. Originally this vehicle was owned by Zetland Estate and stood in the coach house at Aske Hall. Recently painted a lovely olive green with black and red lining, it is an eye-catching piece. There is a wide seat to the roof with raised footrest in front of small windows with metal bars.
Netherby News May / June
Another busy couple of months here at Netherby Hall as we move into summer.
First some great news that came in while I was writing this: the threat from the pylons has been lifted!
18th June saw the presentation to the winners of our ‘beat the pylons’ photographic competition. Gerald Smith decided to run the competition when he heard the parklands between Netherby Hall and the River Esk were threatened by plans for the construction of a line of large overhead electricity pylons. The aim of the competition was to gain a collection of images which showed the beautiful local landscape that would be blighted by this development. There were adult and junior sections in the competition with a total of £2,000 in prize money up for grabs.
A special prize was also given to the best photo taken by a child of school age. It was a lovely afternoon in the Great Oak Hall with all the winners attending to collect their prizes and enjoying tea and cake in the stunning surrounds. The judges were Dr Anna Keays, the Director of the Landmark Trust which owns Coop House on the Esk, Christopher Boyle Q.C., Chairman of the Georgian Group and owner of nearby Kirklinton Hall and Ricky Nolan, lecturer in Photography & Digital Imaging, Dumfries & Galloway College. The winners were, 1st in the adult section was John Coucill 2nd prize was awarded to Jenny Young and 3rd to James Johnstone. Kirsty Graham was the winner of the junior section with Bobby Litke runner up.
We have now learnt that SP Energy Networks has submitted revised proposals to Ofgem, The updated submission has determined that a ‘Reduced Scheme’ consisting of new 132kV transmissioninfrastructure between Kendoon and Tongland is now the most favourable option, after the detailed review determined that the full 400kV Auchencrosh to Harker proposal is now not cost effective. Following this news Gerald commented “While the immediate threat has been lifted, the episode has highlighted just how important it is to preserve this important environment and increase public awareness of what will be lost if we fail to protect it”.
Also in mid-June we bought a nearby pub, The Bridge Inn at Penton. This will in time be supplied with produce from the Walled Garden at Netherby Hall following a major revamp to restore the Inn to its original function and create a place for people to eat, drink and provide accommodation. Gerald and Margo see this complementing their plans for Netherby Hall by providing an outlet for produce from the Walled Garden, creating a destination that will help to draw visitors to the area and providing catering services for events at Netherby Hall. The pub is currently open for drinks Thursday – Sunday from 5 pm. In the background architects are working hard on plans to give the premise a complete facelift. We will keep you updated on progress so watch this space.
The walled Kitchen Garden which is situated at Netherby Hall is being restored into a functioning kitchen garden.
The Walled Garden is approximately 1 acre probably dating to the late 18th century. Two large lean to glasshouses will be reinstated, specialist contractors have been appointed to build the Glasshouses and they will include traditional details. Along with the Glasshouses original paths will be reestablished returning the layout to something very similar to the layout before major alterations were made in the latter part of last century. As noted above, the produce grown in the garden will be used by the Chef at the Bridge Inn to create locally produced dishes. A challenging reopening date of Christmas has been set so we are having to press on if we are going to be able to produce anything from the Walled Garden in time.
No rest for the tradesmen here at Netherby Hall, as soon as one project is complete another one begins. A ten horse stable block has just been finished. The stables will house The Netherby Hall team of coach horses, these horses can be seen on Sunday 24th July at the Scarecrow Festival, will you be one of the lucky people to win a ride on the carriage?
The North Wing of Netherby Hall comprises of 5 apartments. Planning permission had been granted to reconfigure the 5 apartments into 3. Tenders have been sent out to contractors and we are waiting to receive their quotes. This is a large project which aims to be completed for Easter 2017.
Contractors are coming to the final stages of completing the Coach House which is situated just to the North of the Hall. This property will be used to house current tenants while their property is renovated, following this and once the work in the north wing has been completed the Coach House will be available as holiday accommodation.
Every month we see the number of windows to be refurbished decreasing. There are still a good number to be completed but I can see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
I hope your head is full of creative ideas of how you are going to build your Scarecrows. I cannot wait to see them over the festival weekend of 23rd and 24th July. We have Silverband Falconry display who will be on site for the duration of Saturday with a static bird display but don’t miss the flying display which will be taking place at 12:30 pm.
Are you the proud owner of a Vintage or Classic car? Bring it allow to our vintage and Classic car show which is being held in the grounds of Netherby Hall on 14th August. Spaces are filling up, to reserve a slot please follow the link and complete the form http://www.netherbyhall.co.uk/?p=1 or call Harriet on 01228 792732.
Netherby News March / April
Spring has sprung and brought with it a wonderful show of Daffodils within the grounds here at Netherby Hall. The blisters that were gained while planting the daffodils in October were definitely worth it when you see the sea of yellow. We have to remember it is the daffodils first year and fingers crossed they will go from strength to strength over the coming years.
During Daffodil Sunday which was held on 17th April it was great to hear visitor’s memories from when the event was first held. The event was a successful day with numerous visitors coming to enjoy the grounds.
The last Netherby News mentioned we were waiting for the reports from our team of Archeologists who had been on site over the last couple of months. The team had been working on the Victorian Stable area, a site which sits just north of the main house. Their report is in and makes for interesting reading. They believe they found two barrack blocks in this area. This find has caused a small amount of head scratching as it may mean the alinement of the roman fort is different than first thought.
Our “Beat The Pylons” photographic competition has now closed and we received a great variety of images from the local area. The judges are due to meet on 16th May with the winners being announced soon after. All photographs will be on show during the events which are taking place during the summer.
I am looking forward to a busy summer ahead with the restoration projects progressing and events within the grounds.
9th June sees the Solway History Club visiting Netherby Hall for a tour of the house and grounds followed by refreshments in the Great Oak Hall. If you are a member of a club and would be interested in arranging a group visit to Netherby Hall please get in touch either by phone 01228 792732 or by e mail email@example.com to discuss what is available in more depth.
Following the success of last year’s Scarecrow festival, it is making a return this year over the weekend of 23rd and 24th July. It would be great to see more scarecrows made by local people and businesses. Saturday 23rd will include a falconry display from Silverbrand Falconry, there will be a static bird display available for the duration of the event with a 30min flying display, time to be confirmed, during the event. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for more event details and the great prizes that will be up for grabs.
Sunday 14th August sees the first Vintage and Classic Car show taking place within the grounds of the Hall. We invite you to come an exhibit your Vintage and Classic cars in the stunning grounds of the Hall. Exhibitors are asked to arrive from 10am to 10:45am ready for the gates to open to the general public at 11am until 4pm. There is a small admission fee of £5 for adults, children under 16 are free. There is no charge to exhibit your car. To register your interest and reserve a space please follow the link and complete the form. Click Here
Netherby News January / February
The new year came and brought the horrid weather with it. Thank fully we escaped with no flood or storm damage. We were lucky considering the devastation which was caused locally.
Following on from the last Netherby News the archaeologists successfully lifted the cobbles which are situated within the Victorian Stable yard at the north end of the house. During their dig the archaeologists releveled the drainage system for the main hall along with a roman cup. They believe the cup may have been discovered in an earlier dig on another part of the estate but was of no interest so placed back in the ground. We are eagerly awaiting a full report but it may also be the case that foundations exposed during the date back to the Roman period – watch out for a future announcement! The drainage system has since been investigated and if possible all operational drains will be used. The area has now been covered with sharp sand to provide protection while a contractor is identified to relay the cobbles.
We have now completed the next section of ten window repairs. Some are to a bedroom in the south end of the house and some near the boiler room. We have now completed repairs or replaced a total of 35, we are slowly but surely chipping away at the window project.
The tender documents are nearly complete and ready to go out to contractors for the work which will take place in the north wing of the house. The current apartments are going to be reconfigured to form 3 self-catering holiday units. I Look forward to these being completed and welcoming our first groups to Netherby Hall.
A planning application has been lodged with the council for the formation of a fourth holiday
unit and alterations to the layout of the existing dwelling which is situated alongside the walled garden.A general store will also be created along with a boiler house, gardener’s/ groom facilities and the erection of two glass houses.
We also hope to be able to start soon on repairs to the glass roof over the courtyard referred to variously as the orangery, the inner kitchen court or even the crystal palace. We have already made use of this as an area to serve refreshments during events and it would be good to not only repair the roof but also make this a nicer space for this purpose.
Our Beat the Pylons photographic competition was launched on 7th February.
Visitors enjoyed an afternoon of light refreshments and found out more information about why we are running the competition. Gordon Routledge spoke about the work Dr Robert Graham carried out at Netherby and the surrounding area and the great impact it had. Gerald Smith (Owner of Netherby Hall) followed Gordon explaining why he feels so passionate about the threat of the pylons coming to Netherby.
The competition runs until 1st May and is open to anyone to enter. The competition is being spilt into two sections Junior and senior with each winner receiving £500 2nd £300 and third £200. There will also be a prize given for the best photograph taken by a child of school age. The only restriction is the image must be taken in Zone 6b of SP Energy Network proposed corridor. Your photo can include anything you come across so please let your creative mind run. To enter please send your images to Beat the Pylons,
Netherby Hall, Longtown, Carlisle, CA6 5PR, on the back of your photo please write your name, address, phone number, where the image was taken and your age (if you are of school age). I look forward to receiving your images.
Last October the team here at Netherby with help from the public planted 32,000 daffodil bulbs, this took place to allow us to recreate the local tradition of daffodil Sunday. The exact timing will depend on when the bulbs are at their best but we have penciled in a provisional date of 27th March for daffodil Sunday return to Netherby Hall along with Easter celebrations planned for that day. The gates will be open for the public to come and view and the beautiful daffodils and magnificent grounds. Children will be invited to unscramble the Easter conundrum and once solved will receive an Easter treat. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for up to date information on this event.
Our grounds here at Netherby Hall could create a great backdrop for your own personal event. If you are interested in holding an event within our beautiful grounds please get in touch for more information (01228 792732 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Netherby News – November / December
The last two months have been very busy here at Netherby Hall.
Contractors are making progress with the refurbishment of the Coach House. They have nearly completed renovating the windows with a like- for- like repair and are presently engaged with the re- slating of the roof.The cobbled area around the Victorian Stables, situated at the north of the house have been cleared. This is to allow the archaeological contractor to lift the cobbles and examine what is underneath. It is believed the cobbles have been laid on top of the remains of the Roman fort (Castra Exploratorum).
We celebrated the burning of Guy Fawkes on 5th December which was very successful. Visitors braved the horrid weather conditions and enjoyed a wonderful performance from Langholm Pipe Band while the bonfire burnt.
29th November The Great Oak Hall was filled with local producers selling unique homemade
gifts and produce for our Christmas Fayre. During the event house tours were on offer which
many visitors took advantage of.
Our final event of the year took place on Saturday 12th December. We welcomed Paisley Abbey Choir and instrumentalists to play in the Great Oak Hall: performing twice to a nearly capacity crowd on both occasions. They brought a great Christmas atmosphere to the hall getting the visitors in the Christmas spirit by asking them to sing along with the Christmas Carols. Mr & Mrs Smith kindly donated all the profits from the concert to the Cumbrian Flood Appeal and topped this up to £1,000. A further £275 will be donated from the proceeds from the raffle held on the day. All prizes were donated by members of staff and Skitby House.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported Netherby Hall through 2015. We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Netherby News – September/ October 2015
Autumn has arrived here at Netherby Hall and brought with it some beautiful colours on the trees. It is a pleasure to work in such beautiful surroundings.
The restoration work continues with the first set of large windows being completed in the Music Room. This is now being decorated ready in preparation for our Christmas concert, on Saturday 12th December at 4pm and 6:30pm.
The Coach House is situated at the North end of the Hall, it has suffered some neglect over the years, but contractors have now been engaged and have started to repair the roof. The loose and cracked cement render has been removed revealing the original stone work,
which shows the three arched openings where the carriages would have entered the building when it was a working coach house.
The first of the large chimneys in the main building has been restored, as it was in poor state of repair and in danger of collapse. This was taken down to roof level and our Stonemason has returned it to its former glory.
On Sunday 27th September we welcomed visitors to The Oak Hall where they were able to enjoy tea and light refreshments. On the day there were conducted house tours of a section of the house. This was the first time guests had been given the opportunity to see inside and we received brilliant feedback from those who took advantage of the tours. It was a bonus when members of the Aston Martin owners Club arrived on their way back from Alnwick Castle.
We have installed a new sculpture on grass in front of the house – a horse in steel by Marcus Henke.
Last weekend we embarked on our daffodil bulb planting programme. Helped by the public we planted 22,000 bulbs in the grounds of Netherby Hall. Our goal being to re-establish the tradition of daffodil Sunday. I would like to thank our most enthusiast helpers from Longtown Primary school together with the community who helped make this happen. Over the weekend visitors donated £1 for a bag of bulbs with all the money raised being donated to Maggies Trust, Newcastle, in memory of Greg Manson. In total we raised £490, which is brilliant and will go towards helping patients and families who are affected by cancer.
We had sad news on 26th October. Robbie, the Labrador who joined in the daffodil planting by running around with a bulb in his mouth before depositing it in a hole on previous Friday, was killed in a road accident. He was brought back to Netherby to be buried close to where he had had so much fun with the children the previous Friday.
No rest for the team here at Netherby! We have started to build our Bonfire in preparation for the burning of Guy Fawkes on 5th November. Look out for more on this in our next newsletter.
Keep up to date with our planned events by visiting our Facebook page.
July saw a lot of activity at Netherby Hall. The restoration work is ongoing with the first section of new windows being fitted to the kitchen range at the north of the building. Most of the windows are new but in keeping with the existing ones.
Planning permission has now been granted for the restoration of the old stables along with permission to build four new cottages. Our architects are now working on the plans in more detail to allow the work to go out to tender.
July saw the team host their first event, a Scarecrow festival, which was a great success seeing over 450 visitors attend over the weekend.The public admired the large selection of Scarecrows that had been created by the local public and businesses and also enjoyed a stroll round the grounds. Visitors had the chance to relax in our “pop up” tea room enjoying the home baking and refreshments while the children entertained themselves on the bouncy castle. It was encouraging to see the public enjoying the grounds of Netherby Hall after so many years.
Harriet Storey joined the team in mid-July taking on the position of Event organiser and PA. Harriet moved to work at Netherby Hall to pursue a career in Events and expand the knowledge she gained at university. She has lived and grown up in the local area and is excited to be given the opportunity to work at such an iconic building.Harriet believes Netherby Hall has a great future ahead. She is looking forward to giving the public the opportunity to visit a local building and grounds which is steeped with fascinating history and allowing the older generations to relive memories. Her time here will be spent creating a calendar of events which will initially take place in the grounds. As the event programme is expanded it is intended to host evenings in the Great Hall.
Harriet is looking into the possibility of venue hire of the Great Hall for people who are looking for somewhere unique to hold their celebration or function. It would also be a great location for corporate hospitality with easy access to all major transport routes.
The next planned event is the planting of 25,000 daffodil bulbs to re-establish daffodil Sunday. The planting will take place on 24th and 25th October, 11am until 4pm and we would like the public to help. Car parking and entry will be free, however we will be asking participants to donate £1 to charity per bag of bulbs raising money for Maggies, Newcastle, to help fund the great treatment and support they offer people like Greg Manston (a local young boy you recently lost his battle to cancer) and his family. Please bring a digging implement with you to plant the bulbs.
Following this in November there will the burning of Guy Fawkes with a bonfire planned for Thursday 5th November. The bonfire will be lit at 6pm and warm food and drinks being served. For safety reasons and to be animal friendly we have decided not to have fireworks at the event. Please do not bring personal fireworks.
This is the first of our regular updates on all things Netherby Hall related. Since we took procession in September 2014 we have been moving forward on a number of fronts. One of the first things was to change the heating system from oil to biomass. It was a bit of a gamble to be without heating in the middle of the winter but it was a risk worth taking as the new system was up and running before the end of December. It has enabled us to get some heat into the building for the first time in many years (visitors with long memories have told us that it was always a cold house in the past). The system runs on wood pellets and this is not only greener and more economical to run than oil but also a lot less smelly.
We have also been carrying out urgent repairs to the fabric of the main part of the house. This included tackling dry rot that had taken a hold behind the plasterwork in the music room owing to a previously undetected roof leak. A lot of the plasterwork had to be removed and then recreated but it is now looking good. We have moved on to window repairs before redecorating. There is still a bit more work to be done on the roof, including new roof lights and repairs to various chimneys so the scaffolding will be up for some time, but we are getting there.
Tracing sources of damp can have surprising results and one such was the discovery that the spiral stair in the oldest part of the house (the pele tower) extends further up than we had realised – all the way to the roof in fact. This has opened up exciting possibilities for future restoration work.
We have drawn up plans for the restoration of the old stables and have been helped in this by the discovery of aerial photographs in the Geography department in Cambridge University, the earliest of which date but to the 1940s which show the exterior very clearly. Many of the surviving stable fittings are the same as those in the mews at Windsor Castle, this even extends to having exactly the same tiles on the wall, this will help us with the restoration of the interior.
We have also commissioned some archaeological work in connection with our plans for stables and the walled garden area. Gerry Martin, our local archaeologist has turned up some evidence of the Roman occupation of the site – when it was Castor Exploratorum, one of the forts lying to the north of Hadrian’s Wall. We are awaiting the results of a geophysical study of the grounds undertaken by York University at Easter but in the meantime Gerry has made another exciting discovery. This is a ditch near the walled garden that appears to predate the Roman occupation. This is hard to date but he is using a technique that should tell us when the sand in the ditch was last exposed to sunlight. Watch this space for the results.
The garden is looking lovely with the rhododendrons and azaleas in full flower and Karen has created a new garden outside Ken’s office. We have been working on ideas for the walled garden and we hope to be able to say more about this soon.