New Beatrix Potter carpet is rolled out at Hill Top
Hill Top's colourful centerpiece carpet on the stairs and landing, was made famous featuring in the Tale of Samuel Whiskers.
After 18 years and around 3 million pairs of feet walking over it, the old carpet was starting to show it's age so a fundraising campaign was set up in 2019 to raise money for a new carpet.
When Hill Top came to the National Trust, there wasn’t a carpet on the stairs but as it featured so prominently in the Tale of Samuel Whiskers, we knew there had been one there originally.
So the curator looking after Hill Top in the 1990s set about painstakingly researching and designing a pattern for a new carpet to be made; recreated based on Beatrix Potter’s illustrations from Samuel Whiskers and using traditional Turkish runner and rug patterns and authentic designs. The carpet was made in Turkey on handlooms and was fitted in 2002.
Not only did this new carpet bring back a wonderful, colourful centrepiece to Hill Top, but it was a huge conservation success for the team as it protected the original wooden stairs from millions of pairs of feet in its lifetime - plus staff, volunteers and the odd celebrity visitor to Hill Top!
The new carpet has been made by the same company in Turkey as the last one and was skilfully fitted by Paul Read, from Highgate Carpets in Kendal, the same local fitter who installed the carpet at Hill Top 18 years ago.
" Where possible we try to support artisans and crafts people who are keeping traditional skills alive both in the UK and elsewhere, so we’re thrilled to have local people like Paul from Kendal doing the fitting, as well as using the traditional Turkish methods for the carpet production."
A product of the fells
The underlay for the carpet was made from Cumbrian Herdwick wool, the sheep breed Potter loved and helped to preserve.
Looking closely at the familiar grey of the wool, bits of bracken can be seen incorporated into the pile, from where the intrepid Herdwicks have wandered across the fells.
It feels very fitting for part of the make-up of the Lakes that Beatrix loved to roam to be brought back into Hill Top for many hundreds of thousands of her fans to now walk on.
A big thank you
Purchasing the new carpet has been made possible by money raised through fundraising, including raffle ticket sales at Hill Top throughout 2019, so thank you to everyone for your support.
If you'd like to be one of the first to see the new carpet and find out more, Hill Top is open everyday, except Fridays.