Hardwick Stableyard Project
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That inveterate builder, Bess of Hardwick, would have been proud of the major building programme nearing completion at her beloved home.
Critical to the success of the Hardwick Stableyard Project is the generous legacy from a lady whose love for her native Derbyshire inspired her to leave her estate to the National Trust, for use at Hardwick Hall. She had been brought up in nearby Edensor, the model village belonging to the Chatsworth Estate. Chatsworth and Hardwick were at one time both owned by Bess, from her second marriage to Sir William Cavendish.
In total this ambitious project is costing £6.5 million. The bequest was a crucial part of the ‘matched funding’ which allowed the Trust to secure further grants from East Midlands Tourism, Derbyshire Economic Partnership, Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, Communities Sustainable Energy Programme, Leader and the Ironmongery Company to help reach the total.
Work started in November 2009 with a complete re-roofing of the buildings followed by work to transform Hardwick by renovating, repairing and converting the existing Stableyard, in order to create a new restaurant, shop and outdoors shop in time for the Start of Season reopening in Spring 2012. This has allowed us to relocate the existing shop and restaurant, which had formerly occupied the atmospheric Old Kitchen. The kitchen is returning to the way it looked in former centuries, adding greatly to visitors’ understanding and enjoyment of life ‘Below Stairs’ in a grand house.
This major conservation and development project has enabled us to have the Stableyard structures taken off English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk register. As a result, in future this part of the property can be open all year round, with access to the restaurant and shop for people outside the pay barrier to help create a more effective, long-term income stream to help support the Hall, its buildings and collections, for the future.
Denise Edwards, General Manager at Hardwick Hall, commented:
'The project has been very beneficial for all involved; we have been able to work with community groups, provide some great experiences for those interested in archaeology, and demonstrate the skills of the stonemasons who are working on the project. It is an example of how a legacy can transform a property in the long term. I only hope she is looking down on us and is pleased and proud of what we have achieved.'