Major Lord John Spencer Cavendish

This year marks 100 since the beginning of the First World War Hardwick Hall has its own connection to the war in one of the members of the Cavendish family, affectionately known at Hardwick as ‘Lord John’.

We have Lord John’s suit of armour on display in the back of the Entrance Hall, and I had never really though about its history or the man who had owned it. With it being a suit of armour I didn’t even consider that it could have such a connection to the First World War. The two images, ‘knight in shining armour’ and ‘tommy in the trenches’, seem like they should be hundreds of years apart and not within the span of one man’s career.

Lord John was born on the 25th March 1875 to Emma Elizabeth Lascelles and Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Edward Cavendish, has was the youngest of their three sons.

As the youngest son John would not inherit the family property, or be expected to follow his father into politics, so he made the military his career. He joined the First Regiment of Life Guards, a Cavalry Regiment, on the 3rd February 1897.

He was part of the First Regiment of Life Guards and served with distinction in the South African Was, for which he was awarded a Distinguished Service Order in April 1901. When the Great War broke out in 1914 Lord John joined the British Expeditionary Forces and was deployed to France on the 16th August 1914.

Less than three months later on the 20th October 1914 Major Lord John Spencer Cavendish was killed in action.

An account of John’s death by an unknown soldier, dated 24th October 1914, who served alongside him recalls that John was killed instantly by German Maxim Machine Gun fire whilst leading a regiment trying to hold the line in the village. The account talks about how well liked John was, saying that he was so nice to work with, and how much his regiments would feel his loss.

After his death Lord John’s family received a huge number of letters of condolence, showing how well thought of he, and his family, were thought of. Lord John had a successful military career earning the respect of those he served with and recognition for his good service.

I have found this project really interesting and even though the story had a tragic end it was nice to know Lord John was so well though of, I have become rather fond of him! On Monday we shall be remembering Major Lord John Spencer Cavendish and the men like him who served in the Great War for what they believed was right.

If you want to know more about the men who gave there lives during the war follow this link to the Every Man Remembered website.


What’s going on at Hardwick Park



Those of you that have recently been to the park may have noticed that some parts of it are sectioned off to the public

Firstly…A little bit of history. Some of you may well already know that Hardwick Park was once home to the only existing Duck Decoy in Derbyshire
Built in 1860 and worked with trapped doors at either end to capture wild ducks
Around the time of the Great Depression, many duck decoys fell in to disuse as was the case with Hardwick’s around 1893

So…We have some exciting news; we’re currently working on a new project! The reason that bits of the park have been sectioned off is because we’re working on restoring Hardwick’s duck decoy!
The pictures attached will help give you a little bit of an insight as to what’s been going on
We’ll be sure to keep you updated as we get on!

We’re Award Winning!

Last week was very exciting for us at Hardwick Hall. We were lucky enough to attend the 2014 Derbyshire Heritage Awards, hosted at Derby Museum and Art Gallery, where we had two projects up for awards. I was really hopeful that we would come away with something in recognition of all the hard work that our amazing team does.

The evening started with sipping a glass of wine in the Art Gallery surrounded by other heritage professionals. It felt very sophisticated, and we met some really interesting people during the evening.

Derbyshire Heritage Awards 2014

Derbyshire Heritage Awards 2014

Our first project up for an award was the Gideon re-colourisation project, in the ‘Best Project on a Limited Budget’ category . . . and we won the highly commended award! The video shows how colourful our Gideon tapestries would have been when new, and then the fading and deterioration of one of the tapestries – 400 years of decay in just a few seconds. The judges made some lovely comments and, like us, would love to see the project expanded. It is lovely to know that other people found the project interesting, we have watched the video time and again but when the Gideon’s colours fades it never fails to make an impact. It’s such an interesting way of showing visitors why our tapestries now look the way that they do.

The reverse of one of the Gideon tapestries

The reverse of one of the Gideon tapestries

The next award we were up for was the ‘Inspiration Award for Best Special Project’, this category had the most entrants of all and I was suddenly quite nervous. The project we had submitted for this award was our ‘Stitches in Time’ exhibition, starring our beautiful embroidery Penelope, and I found myself crossing my fingers that we would at least get shortlisted against all these other wonderful projects, and we did!



Out of eleven entrants seven, including Hardwick, made the shortlist. The two highly commended awards were announced, and then the two winners, neither sadly was us. Then the other shortlisted entrants were called up to receive a certificate for getting that far, but Hardwick was not called out. At this point we were slightly confused but resolved to just stay quiet, when the host announced a ‘Judges Special Award for Outstanding Interpretation’ . . . for Hardwick Hall!!

Recieving the Judges Special Award

Receiving the Judges Special Award

We were a little bit blown away as we went to accept our second award of the evening. The judges had been so impressed with the exhibition that they had wanted to present us with a special award to appreciate the ‘near perfect’ interpretation of the project! At the end of the evening several people came up to us and said such lovely things about the project. We were told the judges loved how adventurous and well executed the project was, and how accessible and interesting the interpretation is. I was beaming from ear to ear with pride for our team.

I love the ‘Stitches in Time’ exhibition, I like to just sneak in there every so often for a quiet moment and absorb the atmosphere of the space. It is something really different to find in a Trust property, a whole ‘museum style’ exhibition focused on one (amazing) object. There is no feeling like seeing much deserved recognition for a project that you know so many people have put so much into!

Saide Scott & Ellen Ryan with the awards

Sadie Scott & Ellen Ryan with the awards

A huge ‘Well Done!’ must be said to everyone who took part in creating this exhibition, from the conservators to the property staff and especially our brilliant Interpretation Officer, Sadie Scott, without who Hardwick would not have won either of these awards. Well done Chap!

The Winners!

The Winners!

For a full list of all the winners of the evening follow this link: Derbyshire Heritage Awards 2014 – Winners! Thank you to Glynn Wilton for the photographs from the evening.

Ellen Ryan, Conservation Assistant.

Off for conservation…


Off for conservation...

Next week Lucretia will be leaving Hardwick for conservation at the National Trust Textile Conservation Studio, after a hundred years in the Entrance Hall

The piece is part of 5 embroideries that are known as the ‘Virtuous Women’, one of which; ‘Cleopatra’ now does not exist

Penelope has already returned from conservation just this month! – After leaving in 2011. The piece depicts the story of the wife of Ulysses, and represents her virtues while waiting for the return of her husband from war

Once each piece has returned from conservation they will be displayed in a brand new exhibition ‘Stitches of Time’, and we can’t wait for you to see each piece as it returns over the years!

Penelope will be on display for you to see from late June

National Mills Weekend at Stainsby Mill


As part of National Mills weekend, Stainsby Mill our working water mill will be running – and is going to be open even later than usual from 10 – 5 this Saturday and Sunday.
Those of you that have visited Hardwick will have driven by the mill on the way in
Our volunteers are on hand to share their knowledge about the mill along with a tour of the mill, and bags of freshly milled flour are available to buy to take home and bake with

Stepping into Spring

Since we reopened for the public in February, we’re now welcoming spring all over the estate

As we sit here at Hardwick (waiting for some sunshine to arrive, fingers crossed), we thought it might be quite nice to take a look at how Hardwick has bounced back from winter and into spring

From sights to sounds we thought we’d share it with you

So here’s just a taster of the top 5 spring spots at Hardwick …



1. Now I’m sure that one of the first things that spring to mind (no pun intended) is daffodils when thinking of spring, daffodils that seem to appear overnight. Although there are a few spots you’ll find them, where they’ve appeared we think one of the best is definitely in the south court of the gardens



2. Lamb. You may have already spotted the adorable new borns on our Facebook page but just in case we’re sharing it again, you’ll definitely see them on the drive into Hardwick in Lady Spencer’s field



3. Snowdrops – you’ll find them quite appropriately near the fairy house in the south court



4. Birds… Now you’ll see all sorts while you’re out and about but if you head down to Millers point you may just spot great crested grebes, as you’ll see in the picture above!



5. The longhorn calves; the drive in will be one of the best ways to spot them out on the estate 


We’d love it if you’d share your spring sights with us on Twitter whether it be at home or while you’re out and about using the hashtag #springwildlife at @nthardwick or share them with us on Facebook at