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Our work at Wallington

Lady Wilson's Cabinet of Curiosities at Wallington, Northumberland
Lady Wilson's Cabinet of Curiosities at Wallington | © National Trust Images/Will Curwen

Conserving and caring for Wallington is an ongoing task. Find out about the important work we‘ve carried out in recent years, from restoring the clocktower and Cabinet of Curiosities to commissioning some modern art and introducing the tree donation scheme to help replenish Wallington’s historic landscape.

Cleaning up the Cabinet of Curiosities

The conservation team recently spent a few months removing several years of dust from the Cabinet of Curiosities at the very top of the house, which had its last 'deep clean' back in 2007.  

This quirky little museum, full of weird and wonderful objects collected by the family over the generations, was brought back to life as the team carried out delicate conservation cleaning while visitors looked on, often fascinated by some of the impressive items being worked on.

Have you ever been up close and personal to a porcupine fish, a kangaroo’s paw (minus the kangaroo!), a grog warmer or a narwhal tusk? Even the stuffed birds come to life after a bit of tender loving care and gentle dusting.  

While they may seem strange objects to have in your home, these top-quality taxidermy specimens were created for scientific purposes, as a way of taking a closer look at the natural world before TV or the internet.

This spring cleaning also had another purpose. All 1,000 objects had to be checked against the inventory and carefully examined to make sure they remain in tip-top condition, before being cleaned and put back in the exact spot they came from.

Luckily they are all numbered and photographed to help work out which is which, but we've still found a few mystery objects among them....

Tick tock...we restored the clock

After a kind donation of £10,000 from a Wallington supporter, we were able to start the much wished for restoration of the clock in the 18th-century clocktower.

The bell that resides at the top of the clocktower was made in London by Lester and Pack of Whitechapel in 1759 and was hung at Wallington in 1760. It had been looking a bit sorry for itself for quite a while and so, over 250 years later, it was decided to restore the much-loved clock, over two phases.

The Clocktower at Wallington, Northumberland
The Clocktower at Wallington | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

The first phase saw the bell removed from the tower and sent to the Midlands to be restored by specialists Soundweld of Loughborough. The clock mechanism was then removed and repaired by Keith Scobie-Youngs from the Cumbria Clock Company in Penrith.

The second phase of the restoration saw the dial and hands returned to their former glory, at a cost of £7,500. We thank all visitors who chipped in with a donation to help us complete this important work.

The Tree Donation Scheme

If you're looking for a gift with a difference or something special for yourself, just £20 will buy a tree and help us restore part of the historic landscape at Wallington.

We are fortunate enough to still have many of the old estate maps which show the original planting designs to the north of the house, and in 2011 the Wallington Countryside Team started a project to restore elements of the 18th-century pleasure grounds created by Sir Walter Blackett.

So far over 10,000 broadleaved trees of oak, lime, sycamore, beech, rowan and hawthorn have been planted, restoring four old shelter belts across Broomhouse Farm, with many being sponsored and even planted by our visitors.

This year we're continuing to plant hedgerow, woodland and parkland trees close to Wallington and would love your support. A donation of £20 will help us to buy and plant an individual tree in a hedgerow or in the woodland or parkland.

While it generally won't be possible for us to identify each individual tree, each sponsor will receive a certificate in recognition of their donation along with a map showing the planting sites.

All donations will have a lasting legacy and those who receive this green gift will be able to visit Wallington and see their trees grow over the years.

To buy this special long-lasting gift please get in touch.

Autumn colour in the Walled Garden at Wallington, Northumberland
Autumn colour in the Walled Garden | © National Trust Images/Tom Carr

A new piece of art for Wallington

As part of the National Trust's programme of Contemporary Art, Wallington welcomed artists INSTAR to create a sculptural work located on the River Walk, after successfully winning the commission.

The piece was developed in response to the surrounding habitat, resident wildlife and the threats and challenges faced by the natural world. It involved workshops with staff and volunteers, visitors and the local school, Cambo First School.

The final artwork was unveiled in March 2021 and will be in situ until 2023. It has proven to be an engaging addition to the River Walk.

This project is part of Trust New Art, the National Trust’s programme of Contemporary Arts, which is supported by partnerships with Arts Council England and Arts Council of Wales.

INSTAR are a Nottingham-based duo of artists, Trish Evans and Nick Humphreys, whose work creates deeper connections to the natural world through contemporary art.

Trish has also worked as the Head of People and Nature at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for five years, while Nick has been a licensed BTO bird ringer. 

Read more about INSTAR and their work at their website

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

A corner view of Wallington showing the south front and side of the house

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