From Saturday 25 March, the last day of Greenwich Meridian Time before the clocks spring forward an hour, visitors to the National Trust’s Nostell in Yorkshire will be able to see – and hear – an extraordinary art installation celebrating one of England’s greatest inventors, John Harrison.
Harrison’s Garden by internationally renowned artist Luke Jerram has been inspired by clockmaker Harrison, who created the marine chronometer and was born at Nostell in 1693, the son of the estate carpenter.
The exhibition is a display of 2,000 working clocks that will take over an entire room on the ground floor of the 18th-century house from 25 March – 9 July. In a fitting celebration of this local boy, Harrison’s Garden includes 500 clocks that have been donated by Nostell’s community, its staff and volunteers to add to those gathered by the artist.
With no formal education, Harrison spent his earlier years crafting clocks entirely from wood and Nostell is home to one of his only three surviving early wooden longcase clocks, created 300 years ago in 1717.
This significant piece of horological history is at the heart of a second exhibition, The Clock Stops, which opens alongside Harrison’s Garden at Nostell. Visitors will be able to view the original clock up-close, alongside a specially commissioned film about the clockmaker and a series of displays which celebrate his work.
Chris Blackburn, project curator said: “At Nostell we celebrate the work of ordinary people crafting the extraordinary. We’re very proud to look after one of John Harrison’s early handmade wooden clocks and we’re looking forward to telling his story through this fascinating contemporary installation.”
The clocks in Harrison’s Garden are clustered to form patterns and shapes along the floors and surfaces, with each one set to a different time so that visitors will hear a musical delight of ticking, clicking and chiming throughout the day.
Just as Harrison’s creativity started to tick at Nostell and developed over his lifetime, the contemporary installation will grow in size as it tours three other National Trust places across the country from 2017 – 2018.
Following its debut at Nostell between March and July, Harrison’s Garden is set to appear at Castle Drogo in Devon, Gunby Hall in Lincolnshire and Penrhyn Castle in Wales, with each place asking their local communities to donate 500 additional clocks to this growing installation. Jerram, a creator of sculptures, installations and live arts projects across the globe, is excited to see Harrison’s Garden expand in size and sound as it spreads into these historic spaces.
Luke said: “For me, Harrison’s Garden is an imagined landscape; a garden of clocks. It is a glimpse of a surreal fictional world or perhaps an image from one of John Harrison’s dreams. Like a garden, the installation is a living and growing collection of different clock ‘species’.”
The touring installation is a Trust New Art project, a programme that enriches experiences for regular visitors and attracts new audiences who may not have the opportunity to encounter world-class contemporary art where they live.
Grace Davies, the National Trust’s Contemporary Arts Programme Manager said: “We are very pleased not only to host, but also grow Harrison’s Garden, which will be a remarkable feast for the eyes and the ears, and so fitting to the birthplace of John Harrison, reminding us both literally and metaphorically of the passage of time. It is part of a season of inspirational work by artists that shines a new light on the places we look after, giving fresh perspectives that remain rooted in our rich and varied heritage.”
- Average rise of 15p a month to help fund record conservation investment
- Charity responds to feedback with improved facilities, longer opening times and more visitor programmes
- Over one million members pay discounted rate
- Members benefit from unlimited access to 500 places and free parking
Annual membership of the National Trust will increase from March 1, 2017, by an average of £1.80 a year to help the charity fund record levels of investment in vital conservation work, and improve visitor facilities and experiences.
Money raised from memberships is vital not only to help the Trust care for 300 historic properties, 775 miles of coastline and 250,000 hectares of countryside across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but also provide access to them for ever for everyone.
The Trust, which is largely funded through donations, memberships and legacies, spent a record £107m on conservation last year in maintaining, repairing and improving its houses, countryside and tenanted properties.
It also plans to spend an extra £300 million on addressing a backlog of conservation work by 2024.
The Trust said the extra funding would help it respond to what its members wanted including keeping its doors open for longer and at times which suit visitors. More properties than ever are now open for 363 days a year.
Members also benefit from free car parking at more than 170 additional countryside and coastal locations.
Members have also asked for increased numbers of events and more inspiring experiences along with better website and digital communications to keep them informed of what’s happening at Trust places.
In response, the charity is investing more money into visitor programmes and digital platforms, along with better parking, larger cafes and a greater range of activities at many sites.
Extra staff members have meanwhile been employed on the ground in the last twelve months to improve visitor experiences.
Individual adults will pay only £1.80 more for membership while Family membership increases by £3.60 a year.
The smallest increase in membership is for the Senior discounted category at an extra £1.10 for the year, rising from £47.50 to £48.60.
The Trust is continuing this discounted rate for Senior members who have held either an individual or joint membership for at least five of the last ten years, and is also continuing its Young Person’s concession for ages 13 – 25.
Currently, over one million members have taken up the discounted rate, which is the equivalent of one in five members.
Jackie Jordan, the Trust’s Director of Brand, Marketing and Supporter Development says:
“Our members’ support is absolutely vital to everything we do as a charity. The income from memberships helps us to look after the houses, coastlines, and countryside in our care on behalf of the nation.
“On average memberships will go up by around 15p a month and that will help us to plough money back into our biggest ever programme of conservation work, along with improving our facilities and visitor programmes.
“We’re responding to what our members tell us they want which will increase their enjoyment of our places. That’s why we’re opening more of our properties for longer and at times which better suit visitors, with many now open 363 days a year.
“We are investing in larger cafes and new shops, along with better car parking facilities and toilets, improved visitor reception areas, and more gallery spaces, events and outdoor activities.
“We couldn’t do all that we need to do without the support of our members and we want to thank them all for their continued support.
“We believe we offer great value for money. For around a fiver a month, a member can enjoy unlimited access to hundreds of Trust locations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, whilst helping to look after them for future generations to enjoy.”
See here for more information on National Trust membership
Fed up with the rat race? With no running water and thousands of puffins as your only neighbours, a new National Trust vacancy promises the ultimate escape.
Schmoozing business contacts will be tricky as a ranger on the remote Farne Islands, but it’s a wildlife enthusiast’s dream – promising jaw-dropping sunrises, a one minute commute and one of England’s largest seal colonies on your doorstep.
The National Trust has cared for the islands since 1925. Set a mile off the Northumberland coast, the islands have been protected for 189 years and are one of Britain’s oldest nature reserves.
Potential applicants will need to be hardy. Rangers on the islands must brave dive-bombing attacks from Arctic terns, no running water and harsh spring storms that can see them marooned on the islands for weeks at a time.
Gwen Potter, National Trust countryside manager for the Northumberland Coast, said: “This job isn’t the normal 9 to 5. Being good with PowerPoint isn’t a priority.
“We’re looking for someone with a passion for wildlife and conservation – and who wants to share that passion with others.
“Rangers have been based on the Farne Islands for almost 190 years, with scientists carrying out research here for decades. Last year a Springwatch-backed study found that a Farne Islands Arctic tern had made a record-breaking migration, flying 96,000km to Antarctica and back.
“Living here you truly feel like you’re on the edge of the world. It’s a wildlife-lover’s paradise: open the curtains in the morning and you’re greeted with crowds of fluffy seal pups or scampering Arctic tern chicks.
“As a ranger you’ll be in charge of monitoring the wildlife and seals on the islands – as well as assisting with scientific research.
“Every season is different and you’ll be doing everything from carrying out repairs and counting cute seal pups in October to blow-drying sickly Arctic terns or handling puffin chicks during our five-yearly count of the colourful birds.
“But it’s not a job for the faint-hearted. All our water on the island has to be brought in by boat – and we’ve not got a washing machine. Rangers can end up marooned in their cottage during the seal mating season and the island’s thousands of Arctic terns are known for diving at people’s heads in a bid to defend their chicks.”
As one of two full-time rangers, the successful candidate will live on the islands for nine months a year. They will be joined by 11 seasonal rangers over the summer, living on the remote islands 24 hours a day for five days a week.
Inner Farne, one of 20 islands that make up the Farne Islands archipelago, was once home to a string of hermit saints 1,500 years ago – most famously Saint Cuthbert.
But with 50,000 visitors to the islands every year, hermits need not apply for the position of ranger.
Gwen said: “Our Farne Islands rangers are a close knit team. Storms can shut the islands off for days. And with tens of thousands of visitors every year, you really need to be able to get on with people and show them how they can join us to help nature.”
Applications for the position of ranger close on 7 February, 2017. To apply visit: https://careers.nationaltrust.org.uk/OA_HTML/a/#/vacancy-detail/46353.
Themes of gender and sexuality will be explored and celebrated by the National Trust in 2017 as part of the nation’s commemoration to mark 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.
LGBTQ heritage has an important place in the history of the conservation charity and the places in its care.
The acquisition last week by the Trust of a copy of the novel Orlando, signed by Virginia Woolf to the cousin of her lover Vita Sackville-West, highlights the commitment to LGBTQ heritage that runs through many Trust places. Orlando, inspired by Sackville-West’s family history at Knole in Kent, tells the story of a gender-changing character whose life spans the 400 year history of the house.
During 2017 as part of its ‘Prejudice and Pride’ programme the Trust will tell the stories of the men and women who challenged conventional notions of gender and sexuality and who shaped the properties in which they lived.
A number of events will be taking place at properties with LGBTQ connections and the Trust will also be involved in community-focussed celebrations including Pride festivals around the country.
Over the course of the year, online and published resources will be available including a podcast series and a new guidebook exploring LGBTQ heritage in Trust places.
Tom Freshwater, National Programmes Manager at the National Trust says: “Our places span large historic mansions to small workers’ cottages across England, Wales and Northern Ireland so we have a unique opportunity to bring together those stories that unite them and show how deeply and widely LGBTQ heritage goes back into our shared history.
“Some of the stories are well known already, such as the relationship between Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, but some have not been explored or fully told until now. This anniversary is giving us the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the contribution of the people and the places that meant so much to them and offer a greater understanding, accessibility and higher profile for LGBTQ heritage.
“We are pleased to be working in partnership with University of Leicester Research Centre for Museums and Galleries who are bringing their expertise to the Trust in researching and sharing LGBTQ histories in a heritage context.”
Sarah Waters, author of the bestselling Tipping the Velvet and a contributor to the Trust’s forthcoming LGBTQ articles and publications says: “These days we can all be a bit bolder about exploring and enjoying the UK’s rich heritage of sex and gender diversity. And I’d argue that without an awareness of that heritage our experience of certain National Trust properties is incomplete.”
Among the National Trust properties taking part are:
Sutton House, Hackney
Sutton House will hold a year of exhibitions, activities and events around the theme ‘Sutton House Queered’. Working with a number of community partners, the programme will unpick themes of exploration, anarchy and campaigning and include a range of displays and trails ranging from Alice in Wonderland to 1980s squatters. Events begin in LGBTQ history month in February.
Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire
Hanbury Hall will be focussing on their collection and, in particular, the dramatic Sir James Thornhill wall paintings that adorn the staircase which include depictions of Achilles and his lover Patroclus. Hidden stories will be shared revealing tales of classical love in Ancient Greece and satirically, Queen Anne’s Court. From March onwards.
Smallhythe Place, Kent
The former home of actress Ellen Terry will shine a spotlight on her daughter Edy Craig who lived with two female partners in the Priest’s House. Playwrights, Pioneers, Provocateurs will highlight a number of objects in the house, and a production of Wilde Without The Boy, a dramatisation of De Profundis, the letter/s written by Oscar Wilde to Lord Douglas from prison, will take place in the Barn Theatre on 9th and 10th June.
Knole will be celebrating Virginia Woolf’s iconic novel ‘Orlando’, inspired by her lover Vita Sackville-West, who was born and brought up at Knole. A copy of the book, signed by Woolf for Vita’s cousin Eddy Sackville-West recently acquired at auction, will form the centre piece of events which include a partnership with Cinelive and the British Film Institute. A week of events begins Tuesday 27th June.
Simon Murray, Senior Director of the National Trust says:
“Our spotlight on LGBTQ heritage is an important one and we have chosen it to begin our ‘Challenging Histories’ programme. Over the next few years we will be exploring some of the complex and often more difficult aspects of the history of our places, stories we have perhaps shied away from but which are important to our understanding of their history.
“In 2018, to mark the centenary of the first Act of women’s suffrage, we will be looking at the role women have played in shaping our places but also how they were often excluded; in 2019, 200 years after the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, we will look at places which have been the scene of important national events such as Runnymede, Tolpuddle and Mam Tor.
“The programme will be built on new research and will, we hope, stimulate contemporary debate on issues that have their roots in the past but are of continuing relevance today. We will create a programme of events and exhibitions that will be of interest to new and existing audiences alike and remind us all of the importance of our cultural heritage and how vital it is to care for it for future generations to enjoy.”
Read more about LGBTQ activities around National Trust places in 2017.
The National Trust is recruiting for a newly created executive role which will champion curatorial excellence and deliver exceptional visitor experience.
The Director of Curation and Experience will oversee the delivery of one of the charity’s key strategic aims – to provide experiences that ‘move, teach and inspire’ visitors to National Trust houses, collections and countryside.
The conservation charity has also announced that it will nearly double the number of curators it employs – from 36 to around 65 full time staff over the next two years. These changes mean that the Trust is committed to investing more in curatorial excellence than at any time in its history.
The new director will join the executive board and deliver the outcomes of the charity’s curatorial review, which has been assessing the changing needs and skills of its curators, and the resources they need to enable them to support and inspire properties to deliver outstanding interpretation.
Dame Helen Ghosh, the Trust’s Director-General, said: “We have many curators in the Trust who combine deep knowledge of places and collections with flair and imagination in how they are presented to visitors. But we need more of them.
“The new role of Director of Curation and Experience is a critical one for the Trust; it will help to marry high standards of scholarship and research with a compelling, inspiring and enjoyable experience for all our visitors.
“We will be looking for someone with world class expertise and an outstanding track record for delivering programmes, experiences and exhibitions which bring our houses and landscapes to life.”
Sandy Nairne CBE, former Director of the National Portrait Gallery and one of the Trust’s Board of Trustees said: “There are now many examples across the heritage and museum sector of innovative projects which attract new and existing audiences while promoting high standards of academic research and curatorial excellence.
“The Trust has been recognised recently for some outstanding projects, including the recreation of a First World War hospital at Dunham Massey and the Turner and Constable exhibitions at Petworth. It will now be investing in more curatorial posts and expertise at all levels of the organisation to ensure that these levels of excellence are achieved across all its properties.
“This new senior role is a clear sign of the National Trust’s commitment to put inspirational curatorship at the heart of how it cares for and interprets its places.”
Applications for the role of Director of Curation and Experience open on November 7th 2016.
The job will be advertised on the National Trust Jobs website www.nationaltrustjobs.org.uk