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Lindsey Porter

A View from the Bird Garden

Just as the summer holidays are getting into full swing, so the Humboldt penguins’ annual moult does too. As you visit the penguin pool over the next few weeks you will see some very plump and scruffy looking penguins waddling about. This is a natural part of their life-cycle which occurs after breeding season.

Being an aquatic bird, they must change all their feathers at once to ensure that they remain well insulated and able to swim efficiently when they are hunting. A few weeks before they moult the penguins experience a huge increase in appetite (which is the best time to book a ‘Meet the Penguins’ Feeding Experience, as this is when you’ll really get a good crowd around the fish bucket).

The reason for this increase in appetite is to ensure they have enough body fat to live off for up to 10 days, as they are unable to enter the water to hunt while they are moulting. Their feathers lose their waterproofing qualities during this time. Geoff is currently in the lead, having already started losing big chunks of feathers, which are being pushed out by the new ones growing underneath. By the time August arrives he will be sporting brand new pristine plumage and be the envy of the rest of the colony!

Many of the other residents of the Bird Garden are nesting and raising young themselves, but it is not only the birds who have been carrying out parental duties – one of the keepers, Lisa has been working day and night hand raising two Brown Lory chicks for the past month. This is because their parents, Charlie and Peppermint (who can be seen by the Mini-beast Trail, near the flamingos) had been trying to feed them feathers and other unsuitable items.

You can follow @HarewoodHouse on social media for some behind the scenes footage of these two new noisy additions, and make sure to follow the Bird Garden activities on #TakeoverTuesday.

Ten Years of A Level Art on Display

A snapshot of art on display

Over 400 A-level art students have displayed over 400 pieces of artwork at Harewood House over the last ten years, in a schools’ partnership that has grown and flourished during that time. From this month until September, 91 pieces of art of exceptional quality are on display in The Education Suite in The Courtyard, free to view.

At a recent launch, attended by over 200 people including students, their families, tutors and friends, Harewood House Trust Director Jane Marriott and Head Curator Hannah Obee handed out three Highly Commended prizes and one Best in Show, to pupils whose work spanned a broad range of art including photography, design, painting and mixed media.

“By welcoming a new generation of young artists to display their work, in a professional space at Harewood, in an environment that has long been associated with high quality contemporary art and a well-established education programme, we can offer them a chance to succeed.” Said Jane Marriott.

“It is no secret that the Arts have come under significant political and curriculum pressure in recent years, as the focus of successive governments on literacy, maths and science has marginalised its teaching in schools. We therefore wanted to assist the nurturing of a generation of creative and visual thinkers; to develop autonomy, observational and analytical skills.

“It is with great pride and delight that we are able to offer this high-profile platform for local young artists. The chosen pieces of work are of exceptional quality and they inspire not only us, but those who will visit and enjoy them. The Arts matter and the creative industries is one of our most thriving industries. Harewood has, and will, continue to play a vital role in supporting this.”

To keep up to date on more stories like this, follow us on social media @harewoodhouse

13 schools across the Leeds, Harrogate, Ilkley and Otley areas as part of the Red Kite Schools Alliance; Benton Park School, Brigshaw High School, Crawshaw Academy, Harrogate Grammar School, Ilkley Grammar School, Lawnswood School, Malton School, Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Ralph Thoresby High School, Rossett School, Roundhay School, South Craven School, Temple Moor High School.

A Tribute to Michael Howells

On the passing of acclaimed production designer and art director Michael Howells, whose decades-long career spanned fashion, film and theatre, Harewood House Trust pays tribute to an incredible individual who created an enchanting Christmas experience at Harewood House in 2017. In addition to messages of condolence from the staff at the Trust, Lord Harewood adds;

“Diane and I were very sad to hear of the death of Michael Howells. I knew him by reputation from my time working in TV and then we both got to know him more personally when he designed our magical Victorian Christmas at Harewood last year. His inventiveness, creativity and personal warmth and charm will be sorely missed.”

David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood


To keep up to date with behind the scenes stories, follow Harewood House Trust on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

How it feels to be a volunteer – Trust Director, Jane Marriott

Trust Director, Jane Marriott working in the gardens.

I have always been impressed by the dedication and passion our volunteers demonstrate through everything they do for us at Harewood. However, digging up old tulip bulbs on a sunny afternoon with the garden volunteers in the Walled Garden, I also realised that there is a camaraderie and generosity between the volunteers that makes even the most mundane tasks enjoyable.

Our volunteers come from such a variety of backgrounds and with different reasons for volunteering and that is why they are such a fascinating group to spend time with.

In our garden group, there was a huge diversity of backgrounds which was reflected in our conversations, ranging from the weather’s impact on gardening this year (we concluded that we had leapt from winter straight into summer, with no time at all for the spring season!) ….. to new ways of working being championed by a major retail bank. This particular company had banned mobile phones in the workplace and conducted all meetings standing up. Perhaps something to consider….?

As we turned over the soil, chatted in the sunshine and worked our way up the borders, I was struck by two things: how lucky I was to have a job where everyday I get to meet fascinating new people, outside in such a glorious setting and secondly how fortunate we are, that even in the frantic pace of life today, people are still prepared to give their time up for our charity and make such a difference.

The volunteers are a great advert for Harewood – they are passionate about the place, warm in their welcome and they share our ambitions for Harewood, which we are all determined and excited to realise over the next few years. It was a privilege spending time with them, even if I did perhaps, do more talking than digging!

To keep up to date with behind the scenes stories, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Booksellers of Harewood

Bookshop Volunteers

Jane Marriott, Director, Harewood House Trust , presents a cake to volunteer Gill Lord to celebrate the landmark moment.

Over £100,000 has been raised through the sale of second-hand books by the volunteers of Harewood House Trust.

Since the second-hand bookshop opened on site seven years ago, the volunteer booksellers have created an impressive catalogue and collection of books, for all interests and with an average price tag of £1. Every penny of the money they have raised goes back into the work of the charity to protect and promote its three collections of the House, the Gardens and the Bird Garden.

Says Mary, volunteer, “I was one of the pioneers. I helped set up the bookshop and I still enjoy working here now.”

Another volunteer, Paddy, said “I am part of the Bookshop and House team and I enjoy the fact that we come together to share something.”

Jane Marriot, Trust Director, raised a glass to the Booksellers and said “This is an incredible achievement. Your work here is supporting everything that Harewood does as a charity in education and conservation. It is a very tangible contribution to this wonderful organisation.”
The bookshop volunteers also work across different ares of the Trust and are part of a 200-strong group who make a positive contribution to the workings of the charity at Harewood.

To help the Bookshop Volunteers reach their next £100,000, visit the Bookshop and buy or donate a book. All donations of books are grateful received , especially children’s picture books.

To keep up to date with behind the scenes stories, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.