See, hear and feel the world of the ‘hands-on’ Duchess

Duchess Evelyn in her coronation robes as Mistress of the robes to Queen Mary

The story of the Last Lady of Hardwick is one every bit as exciting and engrossing as that of Bess, the first lady to live here. Now you can explore and experience Evelyn’s world for yourself.

The sights and sounds of the early 20th Century in which Duchess Evelyn lived are recreated in the Discovery Room, which has been transformed into a 1920’s cinema. The display shows how global events had an impact upon her life, and describes characters in her story including her husband Victor, the 9th Duke of Devonshire.

Duchess Evelyn also held another important title, that of Mistress of the Robes to Queen Mary. The tale of this part of her life is illuminated by ‘Duchess Evelyn’s Robes,’ in the Minstrel’s Gallery. A work of contemporary art by master dressmaker Christine Anderson, it takes the form of a dress and robe, which is woven with extracts from Evelyn’s letters.

Just as the Duchess left her own personal stamp on Hardwick Hall, you’ll get your own chance to add a splash of colour as you journey through Evelyn’s story. In the Dining Room there’s the opportunity to create your very own rose to add to the display on the huge dining table or try a spot of knitting, while children explore Evelyn’s world by playing ‘Hunt the Thimble’ – a popular game she would play with her own family.