New technology saves exquisite Tudor stained glass

Visitors to The Vyne in Hampshire can witness a unique project to conserve beautiful 16th-century stained glass windows in the Tudor Chapel. Having survived Civil War armies and Second World War bombing raids, this precious glass is now under attack from a new enemy.

The Chapel contains the finest stained glass in our care, considered to be among the most beautiful 16th-century glass in Europe. Famous for its jewel-like clarity, it features images of King Henry VIII, who visited The Vyne several times, as well as his sister Margaret and first wife Catherine of Aragon, together with their patron saints.

But condensation is eating away at it, causing pitting and corrosion. Thankfully modern technology is coming to the rescue. The glass is being removed so that it can be re-fitted with state-of-the-art protective glazing by specialists Holy Well Glass.

Stained glass conservator Steve Clare removes Tudow window depicting King Henry VIII, from The Vyne's chapel ©National Trust Images James Dobson

Stained glass conservator Steve Clare removes Tudor window depicting King Henry VIII, from The Vyne’s Chapel ©National Trust Images James Dobson

Scaffold platform offers once-in-a-lifetime view

As the stained glass is removed, the empty window spaces will be temporarily filled with clear glass featuring simple lead tracery that matches the outline of the original imagery. This will offer a previously unseen perspective of the Chapel during the work from a scaffold viewing platform.

‘Our viewing platform will give visitors a fantastic view of the Chapel’s other historic features,’ says house steward Dominique Shembry. ‘These include the incredible detail on the Tudor wooden stalls, which are carved with heraldry, plant motifs and cherubs, and the 18th-century trompe l’oeil artwork on the walls.’

Get up close to superb Tudor craftsmanship

The viewing platform also provides a unique opportunity to study up close the superb workmanship of the Chapel’s central window. This stained glass, depicting the crucifixion of Christ, has already been successfully fitted with new glazing as part of a pilot project and is remaining in place.

The external wire grills currently covering the Chapel windows are also being removed so that the stained glass can be seen in its original 16th-century splendour when it returns later in the year.

The Vyne Chapel - L to R Henry's sister Queen Margaret of Scotland with St Margaret of Antioch, ©National Trust Images, Helen Sanderson

The Vyne Chapel – L to R Henry VIII’s sister Queen Margaret of Scotland with St Margaret of Antioch, ©National Trust Images, Helen Sanderson

Technology captures conservation in action

A new exhibition reveals more about the stories portrayed in the stained glass and the legends surrounding its mysterious past. There’ll also be a chance to examine some of the original glass before it’s reinstated in the Chapel.

Film footage of the conservators working on the glass in their studio will be captured using audio-visual technology supplied by Panasonic, including wearable cameras.

This, together with time-lapse photography of the glass being removed from the Chapel’s windows, will be projected into a new exhibition space, giving visitors a unique opportunity to follow the work as it progresses.

A Tudor power house

The Chapel, together with the Oak Gallery, are the most complete surviving Tudor interiors at The Vyne which was the home of Henry VIII’s Lord Chamberlain, Lord Sandys. Sandys entertained Anne Boleyn at The Vyne, but was later to escort her to her prison in the Tower of London.

 

 

Sound residency set to make waves at the home of radio

 

Joe Acheson, Credit National Trust, Steven Haywood

Joe Acheson, Credit National Trust/Steven Haywood

Musician and producer Joe Acheson has taken up the National Trust’s first ever sound residency on the Lizard in Cornwall this week where he is recording sounds along this coastal jewel and tapping into Marconi’s time there to create a new piece of music. Continue reading

Giant shell brings the coast to the city

Credit Andy Fallon Photography

Credit Andy Fallon Photography

A giant shell will be washing up at seven cities around the UK during August as part of our year-long celebration of the coast. Featuring seaside smells, sounds, sights and tastes, the ‘Shellsphere’ will be a full sensory coastal experience which will transport you to our shores.

As new research reveals that visits to the coast have declined by 20 per cent in the last decade and over half the nation hasn’t had a single day trip to the coast in the last year, the touring Shellsphere will help reconnect us to the wonders of the seaside.

The aromas of salty sea air, seaweed, caves and rock pools, the sounds of waves and seagulls and evocative interior lighting will recreate the magic of the coast in the heart of London, Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Belfast.

Credit Andy Fallon Photography

Credit Andy Fallon Photography

‘The UK coastline is a magical place and can offer such a diverse range of experiences,’ says Gwen Potter, our wildlife and countryside ranger and coastal champion. ‘We’re hoping the Shellsphere will trigger people’s love of the coast and encourage them to explore the great UK coastline this summer and beyond.’

As part of the free interactive encounter there will be the opportunity to help celebrated poet Dr John Cooper Clarke complete a new poem, the ‘Nation’s Ode to the Coast’, by sharing your memories and love of the coast using #lovethecoast.

Share your love of the coast at a Shellsphere event for the chance to win a Panasonic LUMIX Digital Camera DMC-TZ70 (£329.99 RRP) kindly provided by Panasonic, one of our national corporate partners. The winner can use their new Panasonic camera to take photos of their next trip to the coast.

Read the competition terms and conditions.

Where to find the giant shell:

  • London, Southbank (Observation Point) – 19 August
  • Cardiff, Queen Street and Churchill Way – 21 August
  • Bristol, Central Promenade – 22 August
  • Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street – 24 August
  • Leeds, Briggate – 26 August
  • Manchester, Queen Victoria Statue – 28 August
  • Belfast, City Hall Ground – 31 August

Worrying decline in days out by the coast

Children enjoying the coast at Yaverland, Isle of Wight. Credit Steve Haywood

Children enjoying the coast at Yaverland, Isle of Wight. Credit Steve Haywood

A YouGov study has revealed a worrying 20 per cent decline in the number of people visiting the coast since 2005. The research we commissioned also found that over half the nation hasn’t had a single day trip to the coast in the last year.

A steady decline in the nation’s feelings of connectedness to the coast, particularly in young people, was also confirmed by the comparative study of 9,000 people over the last decade. Only one in seven 18-24 year olds felt that their happiest childhood memory is being by the sea, which is half the national average.

Not having enough spare time was given as the biggest reason stopping people hitting the shores. Other barriers were that the coast is too busy when the weather is nice, too expensive and lacks easy transport links. Many people said they would rather go abroad.

Island nation’s pride in the coast

Yet nearly 90 per cent of adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland think of our coast as a national treasure, the research showed. And the majority of people agreed that it’s important for children to experience the UK’s seaside.

There was an overwhelming sense of pride and affection for our shores with over three quarters of people agreeing that our coastline makes the UK a better place to live and more than one in five day dreaming of the coast during everyday life.

‘The UK coastline is a magical place and can offer such a diverse range of experiences – from a coastal walk to rock-pooling and just feeling a sense of freedom when kicking off your shoes,’ said Gwen Potter, our wildlife and countryside ranger and coastal champion. ‘I think the coast offers a real sense of togetherness when you visit with loved ones, which is what makes it so special to me.’

Celebrating the coast

To reignite the nation’s love of the coast, we’ve got one of the country’s most celebrated poets, Dr John Cooper Clarke, to write the first half of a new poem, the ‘Nation’s Ode to the Coast’. We now want you to help finish the poem by sharing your memories and love of the coast using #lovethecoast.

To help the nation reconnect with the coast and get people planning their seaside visits again, we’re also bringing a little bit of the coast to cities across the UK. A full sensory coastal experience in the form of a giant shell, the ‘Shellsphere’ will radiate aromas of salty sea air and seaweed, the sounds of waves and seagulls and magical interior lighting.

Raising awareness of the role we play in caring for the UK coast, the Shellsphere will be embarking on a nationwide tour to London, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Belfast from 19-31 August 2015.

National Trust statement on the maintenance of Dorneywood

It has been a condition of the bequest to the National Trust since 1954 that Dorneywood is held as a Ministerial home.

Under the terms of the bequest, the Dorneywood Endowment Trust was established as a separate charity to care for the house and gardens. The relationship between the Dorneywood Trust and the National Trust is therefore effectively that of a tenant – landlord.

In 2014 we negotiated a lease with the Dorneywood Trust after identifying significant maintenance costs for the property, totalling around £1m. As part of the new lease, we agreed to provide a voluntary grant towards the upkeep of Dorneywood of £75,000 a year. This will continue for five years. The grant is a contribution towards the essential maintenance of the building.

Under the lease agreement we have also opened up access to Dorneywood for visitors who can now visit the gardens from April to September on selected days, and the house for a limited number of days each year.

ends

 

Vote opens to find UK’s favourite coastal sound

Whether it’s the sound of waves rolling on to golden sands, seagulls crying from the clifftops or children playing on the beach, the National Trust, National Trust for Scotland and the British Library are on a mission to discover the UK’s favourite coastal sound, as part of a three month crowd sourced sound project, sounds of our shores.

Kittiwake at Cullernose Point, Northumberland. Credit Simon Elliott

Kittiwake at Cullernose Point, Northumberland. Credit Simon Elliott

Continue reading

Environmental groups call on the Prime Minister to intervene as ten green policies are scrapped

Within the first three months of the new government ten different environmental policies have been watered down or scrapped, according to analysis by a group of leading UK environment organisations.

These range from support for renewable energy technology and tax exemptions for low carbon vehicles, which have existed for over a decade, to privatisation of the Green Investment Bank and the scrapping of the Green Deal, the establishment of both being achievements celebrated by the last Conservative-led government.

Protection for the natural environment has also been weakened with a u-turn on a ban on fracking in protected areas. And the UK has cited an ‘emergency’ to exempt itself from an EU-wide ban on neonicotinoids.

Environmental leaders have called on the Prime Minister, as a matter of urgency, to clarify his government’s approach to environmental protection and climate security in what is a vital year for action on climate change.

In a public letter to the Prime Minister, written in response to the findings, the heads of the UK’s leading environmental groups said:

“We welcomed the Conservative manifesto commitment to ‘being the first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than that in which we found it’. Unfortunately, ten green policies which could have helped you to achieve these goals have been cancelled or weakened in the past three months. These policies were developed over many years, often with cross party backing, and with the support and involvement of many businesses and charities. Only one of these decisions, to end subsidies for onshore wind, was a commitment from your manifesto. We have, as yet, seen no positive new measures introduced to restore the health of our environment or grow the low carbon economy.”

Responses to the analysis:

Dame Helen Ghosh, director-general, National Trust, said:
“We are keen to play our part in meeting the big environmental challenges of today – climate change and the catastrophic decline in wildlife and habitats. We see their impact day by day in our places.  But Government has to play its role in setting the right regulatory and fiscal framework – and the recent shift in policy positions is worrying.”

Shaun Spiers, chief executive, CPRE, said:
“The Government’s commitment to neighbourhood planning and making better use of brownfield land is very welcome, but its overall record on the environment has been woeful. The Prime Minister clearly cares about the countryside and the wider environment, and recognises that strong environmental policies support a strong economy. He must now assert himself and ensure that his government lives up to its promises rather than taking decisions that we all regret in the long run.”

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, chief executive, The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“This list of recent policy reversals is shocking, and shows disregard for the health and wellbeing of current and future generations, as well as for the environment we all depend on. The Prime Minister should reset the government’s path as a matter of urgency, by reinstating these policies and bringing in truly visionary legislation like a Nature and Wellbeing Act.”

Craig Bennett, chief executive, Friends of the Earth, said:
“This all out attack on green policies undermines UK efforts to tackle climate change ahead of global talks in Paris, and sets back our renewables industry when other countries are speeding towards clean energy and green jobs.

“Over-turning the science-led ban on toxic pesticides may be illegal as well as irresponsible at a time when bees need protection.”

David Nussbaum, chief executive, WWF UK, said:
“This watering down of environmental commitments is short-sighted and short termist. As the world races ahead to develop new green technologies the government’s international standing is at risk unless the Prime Minister takes up the reins of his government and shows he is serious about establishing a long term framework for investment in renewables and positioning the UK as a leader in protecting the environment.  Thankfully – so early in this new parliament – he still has the opportunity to do so.”

Mike Clarke, chief executive, RSPB, said:
“The Conservative manifesto made a moving statement that our moors and meadows, wildlife and nature, air and water are a crucial part of our national identity and make our country what it is. For this to be credible, we will need to see a long term plan for the natural environment matched by actions across government, not a legacy of empty rhetoric.”

John Sauven, executive director, Greenpeace UK, said: 
“Since the election, we have been moving from the ‘greenest government ever’ to the ‘greyest government ever’. This is not the mandate this government put to the country in the general election. And it will be a hard sell to the international community at the climate talks in Paris at the end of the year. Without any real domestic action to tackle climate change this government will lose any credibility to influence others.”

Stephen Joseph, chief executive, Campaign for Better Transport, said: 
“The changes announced by the Chancellor to vehicle excise duty have largely removed the financial incentive to buy a more efficient and less polluting car and fly in the face of the government’s environmental commitments.”

Analysis of changed policies