You Rang My Lord

Posted: January 25th 2021

by Katherine Hardwick, Collections Coordinator

One of the most evocative images of the Country House is of servants’ bells ringing in a hallway. Holkham was one of the earliest houses to install a mechanical system based on copper wires and springs. This system was overhauled in 1910 when the 3rd Earl of Leicester embarked on a monumental programme of modernisation and refurbishment in the Hall. This project included the redecoration of the family and servants’ rooms, refurbishment of the state rooms, installation of new plumbing, and (perhaps most importantly) bringing electricity to Holkham. At the same time, a new system of electric servants’ bells was installed in the Hall. Evidence of both sets of bells can still be seen in the Hall today.

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Thomas William Coke: local politics and a force to be reckoned with in the creation of an independent America

Posted: January 20th 2021

by Lucy Purvis

​As Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States of America today, our archivist Lucy explores the links between Thomas William Coke and the 1st president, George Washington.

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In the Marble Hall are two busts. One is of the 1st Earl by Sir Francis Chantrey but who is the other?

Posted: January 15th 2021

by Dr Mac Graham, Librarian and Historian

Our resident Librarian and Historian, Dr Mac Graham, was recently asked to respond to a query relating to the busts in the Marble Hall. He was asked: “in the Marble Hall are two busts. One is of the 1st Earl by Sir Francis Chantrey but who is the other?” He shares his answer with us today on the blog.

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Christmases Past at Holkham

Posted: December 28th 2020

Christmas is always such an exciting time at Holkham and this year was no different, but as someone that works in a remote corner of the hall it is normally the sounds and smells that waft up the stairs that indicate that Lady Leicester and her very busy team are starting to transform the state rooms in wonderful displays. Closer to Christmas the noises and aroma changes to excited chatter, carols and aromatic candles and I know the candlelight tours have started! Although the decorations were on a smaller scale this year, I could still sense the excitement of Christmas and I wanted to share how Christmas at Holkham has been celebrated in the past.

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The gardener meets a marketing genius

Posted: December 16th 2020

by Lucy Purvis - Archivist

Don’t ever think that archives are just places where dusty old documents are kept. They are full of moments in history that are waiting to be explored. It is vital to remember that for a document to have been kept for decades, sometimes centuries it must have been important at one point. The archives at Holkham are full of just such documents some of which are well-known, and others are just waiting to be explored. Holkham Archivist, Lucy Purvis, gives our Head Gardener, Mark Morell, an exclusive viewing of a book close to his heart.

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A Ball to Celebrate the Glorious Revolution

Posted: November 03rd 2020

by Katherine Hardwick, Collections Coordinator

Remember, remember the 5th of November….These words have a close association with Holkham, through the character of Sir Edward Coke, Lord Chief Justice of England, and the prosecutor responsible for trying the Gunpowder Plotters. However, for Thomas William Coke, an 18th Century descendent of the Lord Chief Justice, the date had a much different significance – as well as being the date of the failed Gunpowder Plot, in 1688 it was also the day William III landed in England to oust the Catholic James II, in the event that became known as the Glorious Revolution. As a committed member of Whig political party – many of whom had played a central role in the Glorious Revolution – the 100-year anniversary of the event was an occasion for grand celebrations… Katherine tells us about one such celebration which took place here at Holkham Hall.

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Copying the Masters

Posted: September 29th 2020

by Katherine Hardwick

Recently, I ventured out of Norfolk in order to pay a visit to the National Gallery in London. The impetus of this trip was to see their current exhibition Titian: Love, Death, Desire, but after completing the exhibition, I spent some time in their other galleries taking advantage of the social distancing guidelines to spend some quality time with old favourites, and to discover new pieces.

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Holkham Dinner Party - The Taste of Dining

Posted: September 01st 2020

by Katherine Hardwick

Holkham Hall has played host to many dinner parties over the centuries and everything had to be just perfect, from the setting and tableware, through to the actual food itself. In part three of the Holkham Dinner Party, Katherine gives us a taste of the food and drink which would have been served in the Hall.

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