Erddig has the second largest collection of items in the whole of the National Trust. With a total of 30,000 to care for, it's no mean feat for the house team of conservators and volunteers. We’re an accredited museum too.
A curatorial attitude
Erddig’s 30,000 objects, ranging from magnificent mirrors to homemade Christmas cards, along with the crumbling house, derelict gardens and 1,200-acre estate were entrusted to our care in 1973. It was to be an agreement that took several years for Philip Yorke II to feel comfortable with.
Part of that agreement was to retain every item in the collection, a tricky job for conservators after generations of Yorkes took an almost curatorial attitude to their belongings. But this is what makes a visit to Erddig so special. There is so much crammed into our house and not all of it is on display.
Unique collection of portraits
For nearly 200 years, Erddig’s servants were recorded in portraits, photographs and verse. Nothing of such breadth survives anywhere else in the world.
Explore the servants’ quarters at Erddig and discover walls filled with paintings and photographs of the people who worked below stairs; celebrating loyalty, length of service and hard work.
The portraits were commissioned by the Yorke family. The tradition was started in 1791 by Philip I who commissioned a set of 6 portraits from John Walters of Denbigh. Amongst others, the portraits commemorate:
- Jane Ebrell, house-maid and spider brusher, aged 87;
- Jack Henshaw, gamekeeper, aged 59;
- Jack Nicholas, kitchen man, aged 71;
- Edward Prince, carpenter, aged 73.
Since April 2013 scores of volunteers have been busy improving Erddig’s digital records. They’ve been working hard on a special project to create a digital inventory known as the Collections Management System (CMS).
The CMS project team has opened drawers and crouched underneath tables, peeked in boxes and unwrapped tissue paper parcels; working in front of visitors and behind-the-scenes to take photographs of every item and record what we see.
The CMS project team's words and photos can be seen on the National Trust collections website. So far 18,380 of these objects can be viewed by visitors online, aiding identification and research amongst collectors, enthusiasts and hobbyists.
"It’s an opportunity to highlight our conservation work not usually seen by visitors, such as carrying out the Toy Store inventory check. I’ll never forget unwrapping all the animals for our Noah’s Ark. The CMS volunteers say it’s like Christmas as they never quite know what they’ll find stored away here, and they enjoyed sharing their stories with visitors."
Heather Vernon, Erddig House Steward
Find out about the High Sheriff who lived beyond his means when he built Erddig, the rich London lawyer who extended and redecorated it and 240 years of the Yorke family.
Saved from ruin, Erddig is a rare survivor teeming with treasures. From servants’ portraits to fine furnishings, discover the top things to see and do when you visit the house.
From daffodils in spring to 180 apple varieties in autumn, find out about this 18th-century walled garden and its seasonal activities and highlights.
Check out the places to eat and shop at Erddig. Most are set within historic outbuildings and every purchase helps us to look after Erddig for future generations to enjoy.