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Search Harewood’s Servants’ Database

Black and white photo of men on the roof of Harewood House in the early 1900s

Men on roof of Harewood House. Centre front is Joe Pattison. Joe was from Newcastle and worked for a Newcastle firm on the electrics in the house in 1929. The workers lived in huts in the park whilst the work was done.

Records for over 1000 people who were once employed at Harewood House can now be researched online at servants.harewood.org. The site, which is free to use, is a resource for history enthusiasts, school groups, local people and anyone interested in knowing more about the staff who ran Harewood House. The digitised database, which stretches between 1749 and 1980, includes fascinating insights into the people who kept Harewood House operational.

Where information exists, records of past staff include dates of employment, lists of job roles held, salaries, images and any notes which may have been gathered. Visitors to the website can search through professions including Butlers, Housekeepers, Farm Workers and Lady’s Maids. More unusual roles which can be found include Oddman, Postillions and even a Rabbit Catcher.

Harewood has many stories, many histories. This database gives access to the lives of the wide range of people who have lived and worked here – it’s fascinating stuff, chronicling the changing face of Harewood from generation to generation through personal memories and reminiscences.” Said David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood.

Research has been carried out within Harewood’s archives and from collated information submitted by members of the public.

We’re thrilled to see the Servants’ Database online. It’s taken several years to pull the information together and we look forward to seeing it grow in the future. ” Said Anna Dewsnap, Head of Collections.

The database also enables users to share records via social media, submit updates and include their own information should they wish to.

To celebrate the launch of the Servants’ Database, Harewood is holding Summer Discovery Days throughout August Bank Holiday. The event, which runs between Saturday 29th August and Monday 31st August, explores the quirky histories behind Harewood House. Visitors will be able to speak to Harewood’s House Stewards about the Servants’ Database, meet Harewood’s first Housekeeper Elizabeth Burrows, and draw like Turner on the North Front.

The Top Ten Birds Benefitting from Zoos and Aquariums

Bali Starling's at Harewood House in Yorkshire

With blue skin, these are an unusual bird available to view in the Bird Garden

A penguin that brays like a donkey, a vulture that can reach heights of over 20,000 feet and a parrot that is one of the best mimics of the human voice. These are just three of the species staving off extinction thanks to the help of zoos and aquariums.

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) has compiled a report detailing the top ten birds most reliant on zoos and aquariums for their survival.

The African penguin, the Ecuador Amazon parrot and the Oriental white-backed vulture have all made it on to the list, which highlights some of the best examples of how zoos and aquariums are safeguarding the future of our planet’s wildlife and their habitats.

Dr Andrew Marshall, of BIAZA’s Field Programmes Committee, coordinated the compilation of the list with input from conservation experts based at BIAZA collections. He commented:

“More than one in ten species of bird is globally threatened; and the work zoos and aquariums do in protecting these wonderful animals is integral to the survival of many bird species.

“Zoo conservation work includes research, education, management of habitats and protected areas, improving human livelihoods in developing countries, breeding, reintroduction, environmental sustainability, and engagement with policymakers.

“As we continue to produce these lists, it is becoming more and more evident that the world’s zoos and aquariums are an essential source of funds and expertise for conservation of the natural world.”

The top ten list demonstrates the importance of zoos and aquariums not only for conservation breeding of safety-net populations, but also for their contribution to funding and management of conservation projects in the field, including research, education and support for local communities, as well as protection of crucial wildlife habitats.

Strict criteria were used to select the top ten. All the birds proposed had to be associated with current field initiatives by zoos and/or essential conservation breeding in zoos. Particular importance was given to initiatives which included a management role in the species’ conservation, rather than just providing funds.  Priority was also given to species listed as threatened on the international IUCN Red List of threatened species.

BIAZA’s top ten birds benefitting from zoos and aquariums are:

African penguin: Numbers are plummeting in the wild due to oil spills, overfishing, shifts in food availability and human disturbance.

Bali starling: These are seen as very desirable cage birds, and illegal trapping has brought them to virtual extinction in the wild.

Blue-crowned laughing thrush: The zoo population of this Chinese bird equates to 50% of the total global population.

Ecuador Amazon parrot: With fewer than 600 individuals left, its survival relies on the protection of remaining wild populations and their habitats.

Edwards’s pheasant: There is a small captive population, but it has never been seen or studied by a scientist in the wild.

Madagascar pochard: Just 20-25 Madagascar pochard now survive in the wild.

Northern bald ibis: Pesticide poisoning has had a devastating effect on their numbers but BIAZA members have contributed birds to a successful release programme and populations are slowly increasing.

Oriental white-backed Vulture: Traces of a toxic veterinary drug in farm animal carcases across Asia has decimated populations, but species restoration has been made possible by zoo-based expertise and funding.

Socorro dove: A classic island species, numbers have been devastated by man-introduced pests like rats, cats and goats. Captive breeding has saved it from total extinction.

Visayan tarictic hornbill: Two BIAZA zoos are actively supporting in-situ work to save and restore the wild habitat of this species.

(This list is in alphabetical order)

BIAZA logo

The Life of Lady Worsley

Lady Worsley broke all the rules of polite society. The Scandalous Lady W, starring Natalie Dormer, recently told the colourful tale of the 18th century’s most public, tabloid worthy relationship in a BBC drama.

Harewood House has Joshua Reynolds paintings on display

A detailed view of Lady Worsely’s portrait

A beautiful and wealthy heiress, Seymour Dorothy Fleming was one of England’s most eligible bachelorettes. On the 20th September 1775, at the age of 17, she married Sir Richard Worsley. Now known as Lady Worsley, Seymour brought £52,000 to the union which is the equivalent of over £6 million in today’s money.

Lady Worsley was a spirited and independent young woman. She wasn’t afraid to say what she thought and do what she wanted, something that at the time, was not expected of a woman. Wives were expected to do their husband’s bidding and were seen as property in the same way as cattle or land.

In November 1781, Lady Worsley eloped with Captain George Bissett, a friend of her husbands, leaving her 4 month old baby behind. This act of defiance prompted Sir Richard to bring a criminal conversation case (adultery, with one of his officers) for £20,000 against Bissett. Lady Worsley made the courageous decision to support Bissett, publicly humiliating herself and her position in society.

Testimony was provided by a number of Lady Worsley’s 27 lovers and her doctor, William Osborn. He testified that she had suffered from a venereal disease which she had contracted from the Marquess of Graham. This acted as evidence that Bissett had not been alone in committing adultery with Lady Worsley.

Although Sir Richard looked to have a strong case, it was undone by a final piece of evidence. Rather than suppressing their relationship, it was later proven that Sir Richard had displayed his wife naked to George Bissett at the bathhouse in Maidstone encouraging the affair. This evidence destroyed Sir Richard’s suit and the jury awarded him only 1 shilling in damages.

It’s hard to imagine what determination she must of had to leave her husband during that time period. The scandal would be shocking by today’s standards never mind in polite Georgian society! It could be argued that Lady Worsley showed great resolve in the way she approached the case. It was a brave  move to present her romantic encounters so bluntly in defense of Captain Bissett.

Today, the famous Joshua Reynolds painting of Lady Wolsey hangs in the Cinnamon Drawing Room of Harewood House. The portrait depicts the young Lady Worsley in the milita uniform of her husband.

How is Lady Worsley related to the Lascelles family?

Seymour Dorothy Fleming was the younger daughter of Sir John Fleming of Brompton Park and his wife, Lady Jane Coleman. Her father and two of her sisters died when she was just 5 years old and she and her elder sister, Jane Harrington, were raised by their mother. Her mother remarried in 1770 to Edwin Lascelles, 1st Lord Harewood making Lady Worsley the step-daughter of Edwin.

What can I see at Harewood about Lady Worsley?

Harewood House was linked to Lady Worsley

As well as the famous painting, we are showing letters written to “Mr Hewitt” which relay the scandalous exploits of Lady Worlsey and her two companions during a Christmas meeting at Harewood in 1778. The account explains how “Lady Worsley and two Miss Cramers threw most of the gentlemen’s clothes out of the window, particularly their breeches, thinking them I suppose unnecessary.

Can I see the painting?

Yes, visitors to Harewood House can explore the House, grounds and see the painting in the Cinnamon Drawing Room. Call 0113 218 1000 or go to our Visit page for details.

Brownlee Triathlon 2015

Harewood House has sporting events in Yorkshrie

Yorkshire born Olympians Alistair and Jonny Brownlee are bringing their legacy triathlon back to Harewood House on Saturday September 26th.

Our spectacular grounds will host the Sprint and Super-Sprint courses for the second consecutive year. The Brownlee Tri, which you can enter as a team or as an individual, offers a new pontoon for the swim start and finish in the beautiful Harewood lake. This is followed by a traffic-free cycle upon some of the same roads as the Tour de France and an off-road run along many of the routes that the Brownlee brothers train on.

Harewood House is a great place to visit

To find out more details and to sign up, please visit the event’s website here: www.brownleetri.com

*Entries close on Sunday 13th September

Behind the Scenes – installing an exhibition

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska: New Rhythms

Installing the exhibition credit Oliva  (1)

The new Henri Gaudier-Brzeska; New Rhythms  exhibition in the Terrace Gallery is composed of important artworks belonging to Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, Harewood House Trust and a number of other private and institutional lenders.  A few days before being the exhibition is installed and then opened to the public, the artworks are shipped to Harewood House, the fine art transport truck provided by a specialist fine art shipping company. The inside of the truck is padded and all the crates are strapped to avoid any movement during the transportation.  You can see the strapped wooden crate in which The Wrestlers bas-relief was transported on the right bottom corner of the first picture: over 100 kg!

Installing the exhibition credit Oliva  (2)

Crates and showcases are unloaded by the shippers and Harewood Collections department to a temporary storage or directly in the Terrace Gallery where the exhibition will be held. Once the Terrace Gallery walls are prepared, the installation can start: stands and showcases are carefully positioned and artworks are installed according to a pre-planned the installation plan, vinyls, panels and labels (`interpretation`) are positioned on the wall after the final positioning of the artworks, film and video media are installed  and the exhibition lighting is adjusted.

Installing the exhibition credit Oliva  (3)

Photographs: Olivia Bayley and Marie-Astrid Martin