Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens will soon be able to welcome to the public to a previously inaccessible area of the hall, as building works have been completed on their Heritage Lottery funded conservation project. The unique project, titled ‘Tunnelling through the Past’ has seen Kelmarsh Hall conserve the former stable yard, laundries and the servants’ areas in the basement of the house. Through utilising the latest technologies, alongside an interactive approach to the objects and setting, Kelmarsh Hall will be soon be welcoming visitors to enjoy a full sensory experience of what life was like for those who formerly worked and lived at the property. Tablet devices will help visitors to interpret the rooms in detail, whilst augmented reality will bring the spaces to life with period characters appearing to tell their story.
Currently just the main living spaces in the grand Grade I listed Hall are open to visitors, and guided tours provide in-depth insight into the history of its famed past residents, such as taste-maker Nancy Lancaster. But thanks to a £1.3 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant and funding from Daventry District Council grant scheme, the building project which has been underway since early 2016 will soon bring the history of the servant’s lives at Kelmarsh to their visitors.
On the 5th of December, the trustees of the Kelmarsh Trust will hold a small reception to thank all the generous donors which supported the project, including the Heritage Lottery fund, with a preview of the newly conserved rooms. Providing access to Kelmarsh and informing the public on its rich history are two aims of the Kelmarsh Trust, the independent charity which owns Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens. Thanks to the incredible support for this project, new resources are now available for the general public to understand the lives of servants who worked at country estates.
The completion of this project heralds in another major change for Kelmarsh Hall, as from spring 2018 it will be open to visitors three days in the week. In the past, the hall has only been opened once a week – the recent development project is enabling the hall to become more accessible for the general public, to explore and learn about this Northamptonshire country house. The Hall will be welcoming day visitors to explore this incredible country house, as well as providing additional options for societies and groups visiting the hall on a wider range of days in the week. School groups will also be able to learn about both the Hall and the gardens through a newly develop scheme of educational resources tailored to the current curriculum.
To celebrate the completion of “Tunnelling through the Past”, the Hall will be opening its doors to the public for a special preview of the project, prior to the grand opening next spring. As part of the National Lottery ‘Thank You’ week to lottery players, on the 17th of December, Kelmarsh Hall will be holding a Christmas Fair and giving visitors the chance to experience a Victorian servant’s Christmas in the newly conserved rooms. This forms part of a week of events from the 11th – 17th of December across the country, thanking Lottery players for the ways they support a variety of projects through purchasing their lottery tickets. This festive celebration will be a fun-filled family day out, including the opportunity to visit Father Christmas, stalls of beautiful crafts and gifts hosted in the historic ground floor rooms and a mini-food market with scrumptious foods stalls in the new coach house and stable yard.