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Dementia-friendly team training

dementia-friends-pin-badgeThis week our Visitor Experience Team become Dementia Friends and joined the UK’s biggest ever initiative to change the way people think, act and talk about Dementia.

Twenty members of the Visitor Experience Team, including supervisors and those who work in the House, on the Chain Ferry, and at Visitor Reception, took part in the training session, delivered by a volunteer Dementia Friends Champion.

Being a Dementia Friend simply means learning more about dementia, putting yourself in the shoes of someone living with the condition, and turning your understanding into actions. Something as simple as being more patient during a transaction at our ticket booths, every action counts.

This was a really impactful session, where those taking part learnt about key messages through activities and discussion, providing a greater understanding of Dementia affects everyone differently and committing to one dementia-friendly action at the end of the session.

Emily Long, Visitor Experience Manager, said “This was a really enjoyable session and our team is proud to raise awareness and support people living with Dementia. It’s incredibly important that as many of our staff and volunteers as possible have the opportunity to become Dementia Friends and we will all be wearing blue forget-me-not pin badges to identify ourselves.”

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Of Landscape and Literature, pause for thought with head gardener, Trevor Nicholson

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Having always loved words, especially literature relating to landscapes, plants and gardens, I was delighted to accept an invitation from the Ilkley Literature Festival, to speak at their reception for the Festival Friends at the Ilkley Playhouse in October.

Throughout the 25 years I’ve worked at Harewood, shaping and re-planting the gardens and engaging with all the different elements within them, studying literature has given me a rich insight into the stylistic and cultural history of gardens, as well as a deep appreciation of landscape.
Poetry has been an important source of inspiration for me, as well as a guiding light, especially in the making of Harewood’s Himalayan Garden. This garden, with its meandering paths leading to a Buddhist Stupa, flowery glades, rocky slopes, stream and waterfall – all surrounded by a borrowed wilderness of tree tops stretching far beyond its boundary – evokes a scene in a Himalayan valley.

At an early stage in my musings about the potential future development of this special part of the gardens, a poem by Li Po made a lasting impression:

You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care
As the peach blossom which flows downstream and is
gone into the unknown
I have a world apart that is not among men.

Probably as a result of formative wanderings through the ruggedly picturesque landscape around Teesdale, I felt an empathy with the ethereal charm of this garden many years ago, even before discovering Li Po’s beautiful poem, in which he describes his feeling of total peace and perfect solitude whilst dwelling in a mountain retreat – a natural world, entirely removed from city life.

From its creation by the 6th Earl of Harewood and Princess Mary in the 1930’s and their connections with the great plant hunters, to the present Earl’s building of the Harewood Stupa in 2004 and botanical journeys to the Himalayas to inform the cultivation of a new plant collection, the story of this garden is a fascinating one and continues to evolve.

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A pair of the world’s largest flying birds take residence at Harewood

Condor_Harewood_BirdGardenTwo giant female Andean condors have arrived at Harewood House Bird Garden this week, as part of the charity’s work to proactively take part in the preservation and continuation of endangered species.

Babs and Janina will live in the newly revamped large enclosure at Harewood, where they have already drawn visitors to discover more about them. Harewood House Trust has joined the European breeding programme, where it will host and care for birds who are being readied to be paired off for breeding.

Nick Dowling, Bird Garden & Farm Experience Manager at Harewood, says; “We’re really excited about the arrival of these two impressive birds, there have never been Condors in Harewood’s history and they will be a valued addition to the Bird Garden’s significant Collection.
“Andean Condors are classified as near-threatened and there are very few in UK collections. We will be caring for these birds, holding them in reserve for when a suitable male becomes available as part of the breeding programme.”

The Andean condor is part of the vulture family and is native to South America. It is the largest flying bird in the world. Janina has been brought to Harewood from Ostrava Zoo in the Czech Republic, whilst Babs arrives from Lotherton on Thursday 31 October, Halloween.

Babs has lived at Lotherton since 2009 and has been a big favourite for both staff and visitors.

Robert Young, Head Keeper at Lotherton says; “We’re so happy Babs is going to a new home not so far away at Harewood. With the species in decline, it is important that we continue our work with the European Endangered Species breeding programme for this species. This exchange is just one of the actions that make up Lotherton’s commitment to conservation and aid in the long-term survival of the species we hold in zoos.”

Condors can live up to the age of 60 and these birds are 26 and 33 years old. Babs has previously had eggs.

Keep up to date with bird stories from Harewood on #TakeoverTuesday @HarewoodHouse

Reflecting on the roots of Harewood’s history – Black History Month

 

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If you have visited Harewood recently, you will hopefully have enjoyed this beautiful house and its fascinating and elaborate decoration and collections.

But you should also have learnt that the ground that Harewood House was built on, was bought by Henry Lascelles in 1738, using money from the West Indian sugar trade. This is where his family had accrued a considerable sum of money from all different parts of the trade, from owning plantations to shipping and storage too.

Most of our knowledge about Henry Lascelles’ story is based on research undertaken by the University of York during 2007, the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade and a year when Harewood House Trust aimed to raise awareness of Harewood’s past, particularly with the presentation of the grand scale production of Carnival Messiah. The Borthwick Institute for Archives is the specialist archive service of the University of York and is one of the biggest archive repositories outside London. It is here where the Lascelles Slavery Archive is held.

It is thanks to the Borthwick that Harewood House Trust and indeed the Lascelles family, have a better understanding of its history. A vast process of conserving and digitising many of the papers dealing with the business affairs of Henry and his partners has been undertaken, so that these can be accessible by the public online and available for research.

Most of the documents in the archive relate to business transactions linked to the slave trade, such as foreclosures on mortgages, acquisitions of property, wills, bonds and expenditures such as shipping of sugar and other cargoes.

The Lascelles Slavery Archive documents part of the history of slavery in the Caribbean throughout the 18th century. Black History Month is a poignant moment to look again at Harewood’s history and to continue to talk openly about this moment in time.
Harewood House Trust has an ongoing relationship with the Borthwick Institute and its students and is continues to look at the ways in which the charity tells visitors about the origins of its own story.

Find out more about the Borthwick Institute and follow @HarewoodHouse to keep up to date on stories and more.

Taking Inspiration from Beyond Harewood

Chateau_de_ChaumontTrust Director, Jane Marriott, gives an insight into what has inspired her this season and how this plays into Harewood’s future.

Two weeks ago, I was on the train to France with two rather different purposes in mind. One was very much looking to the future, as I constantly scan the horizon for new ideas linked to the best artists and creative directors to bring back to Harewood. Secondly, we were celebrating the past, the stunning Renaissance times, as a new exhibition dedicated the artist El Greco opened in Paris, and features a loan of one of our star works; Allegory.

No matter what turmoil Brexit is currently in, we will continue to work with our brilliant colleagues overseas, drawing inspiration from what they are doing and working hard to attract many visitors back here to enjoy Yorkshire. One such beautiful place is Chateau de Chaumont sur Loire, founded in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 15th century. It was there that I hoped to explore not the historic architecture, but rather their hugely ambitious international garden festival, now in its 28th year , which showcases incredible contemporary art, placed imaginatively around the landscape.

Bringing historic houses and gardens alive with great programmes is only possible if we seek to work with the best artists and creative teams. Only then can we hope to encourage people to return time and again to Harewood, and even better, to join us as a Harewood Member.

Finding projects which will inspire us and genuinely enrich our lives, has to be balanced with protecting and sharing our heritage. A garden festival needs to be environmentally sustainable and like Make It Harewood earlier this year, needs to offer a full programme of talks, workshops and a hands-on learning, where people can engage on a deeper level. Watch this space as we look to develop the next exciting chapter for our gardens.

Meanwhile, as an Arts Council accredited museum, we have significant collections of Renaissance art, as well as the largest commission of Chippendale, beautiful Sevres and Chinese porcelain and 19th century portraits and landscapes. To see Harewood’s El Greco taking pride of place in the Grand Palais, before the show travels to America, was rather wonderful. We need to share our treasures, not just at Harewood, but with partners all over the world. If you are lucky enough to be in Paris this autumn, I really would recommend a visit!

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