250 years of welcoming visitors
Join us on a new tour inside Kedleston Hall, following in the footsteps of the first and most famous housekeeper, Mrs Garnett.
In 2019 we celebrate Kedleston's cherished housekeeper, Mrs Garnett, who worked for the Curzon family at Kedleston Hall from 1766 until her death in 1809.
As well as her usual housekeeping duties, Mrs Garnett gave tours of the state floor of the hall to selected visitors, which showed off the fine art collection, striking Robert Adam architecture and lavish furnishings.
In 1769 the first guidebook was published with an initial 200 copies printed. It was updated and reprinted several times before 1790. We are lucky enough to have the copy used by Mrs Garnett which contains her handwritten notes. She noted details about the art and the scenes depicted, which she would have shared with the visitors on her tour.
Browse the guide for yourself here: 1769 guide to Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire (PDF / 3.3MB) download
Mrs Garnett was clearly a highly regarded member of staff at Kedleston because a portrait of her hangs inside the hall, where she is seen standing in the marble hall holding a copy of the guidebook. The portrait was painted by Thomas Barber the Elder, when Mrs Garnett was 76 years old. Her grave can be seen today beside Kedleston's church entrance, where inside the Curzon family are laid to rest. This is rather unusual for a servant but shows how much she was respected at Kedleston.
It was not just the family who appreciated her excellent service in the hall, there are historical references to Mrs Garnett by those who visited and were taken by her warmth and good service.
" Of all the Housekeepers I met with at a Nobleman's Home, this was the most obliging and intelligent I ever saw"
New Welcome Tours in 2019
While the hall could only be visited by a fortunate few back in the 18th century, today we are pleased that Kedleston welcomes everyone inside. This year you are invited to follow in the footsteps of Mrs Garnett on a special 25 minute guided tour, before the doors fully open to visitors.
Welcome tours start promptly at 11.10am and 11.30am inside the hall, on days that the hall is open. Places are strictly limited and are on a first come first served basis. If you would like to go on a tour, please ask at the visitor reception on arrival and you will be given a ticket for the 25 minute tour.
To help us to protect the hall you will be asked to leave any large bags in a secure area at the start of the tour. Please note, the tour includes over 40 steps and is not suitable for prams or pushchairs. Baby carriers are available to borrow. Wheelchairs are available to borrow on the first floor but there are steps to reach the first floor. Assistance dogs are always welcome.
The tours take in part of the state floor, giving you the opportunity to explore more rooms at your own pace during the main hall opening hours, from 12 noon onwards.
The tours are free for National Trust members, for non members the hall admission charge applies.