The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire will share some of their favourite treasures and places around their home, Chatsworth, as part of a series of Winter Talks.  Among the subjects covered are some of the more unusual objects and places included in the Chatsworth Estate, as well as the history and stories behind them. (Our home at Chatsworth, 2 March).

Running from 12 January to 10 March, the Winter Talks also feature a fresh selection of expert speakers covering a diverse range of interests, from the challenges of managing the garden and waterways, to an insider’s view of working at Chatsworth as a housekeeper and a look at 250 years of life below stairs.

12 January: Dave Spencer, Domain Senior Supervisor, ‘Lakes and waterways’

Chatsworth’s famous Cascade, Canal Pond and spectacular Emperor Fountain are all fed from lakes situated in Stand Wood above the house, and the river Derwent flows through the parkland in front of the house. The care and maintenance of the miles of waterways that supply the lakes, as well as the streams and pipes taking water to the fountains, is of the upmost importance. David will explain how it all works and how the domain team maintain it.

19 January: John Everitt, Head of Forestry, ‘Modern forestry on a historic estate’

The Chatsworth Estate’s 37,000 acres contain hundreds of thousands of trees. John Everitt talks about the role of a modern estate forester and the day-to-day management of 1600 hectares of mixed woodland.   He will also outline plans for the development of the estate, including plans for diversification of the woodlands in terms of species and age structure to create a sustainable resource for future generations.

26 January: Steve Porter, Head of Gardens and Landscape, ‘Managing a modern garden’

With Capability Brown and Joseph Paxton as his predecessors, Steve Porter has a tough act to follow. He’s also got to deal with the impact of more than 500,000 visitors every year while managing and expanding the plant collection, working with external consultants to develop new areas, using contractors to maintain and improve the fabric and historic features, as well as guiding an expanding team of gardeners, trainees and volunteers.  This talk is an opportunity to learn more about how it all works and find out about plans to develop the garden.

27 January: the Collections Team, ‘250 years of stories from the servants hall’

The Collections Team at Chatsworth, in conjunction with Sheffield University, will give an illuminating talk about life below stairs for servants and staff who helped to keep the house and estate running during the years from 1700 to 1950. This talk will tell the stories of servants that have been found in the archives –  from butlers, housekeepers, cooks, cleaners, footmen, gardeners, and many more.

2 February: Lord Burlington, ‘Shaping a greener Chatsworth’

Lord Burlington founded the Devonshire Group Environmental Committee (DGEC) in 2010 to drive forward his vision for ‘A Greener Chatsworth’. In 2013, Chatsworth received recognition for its sustainability work through a Green Tourism Gold Award and in 2016 was awarded the Peak District Environmental Quality Mark. Here, Lord Burlington talks about future projects and his vision for a greener Chatsworth.

10 February: Shenagh Firth, Head Guide, ‘Duchess Georgiana’

Gambler, collector, activist, style icon, socialite and duchess, Georgiana was notorious in her day as wife of the 5th Duke of Devonshire. The celebrated subject of a Gainsborough portrait, Duchess Georgiana has fascinated generations since her death and has been the subject of major books and films.

2 March: Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, ‘Our home at Chatsworth’

The Duke and Duchess will share some of their favourite treasures and places both inside the house and out, as well as in the garden and park. They will be talking about some things visitors may be familiar with, as well as some of the more unusual objects and places at Chatsworth and the history and stories behind them.

10 March: Christine Robinson, Head Housekeeper (retired), ‘The Housekeeper’s tips, tales and tipples’

Following on from her first book, “Chatsworth, The Housekeeper’s Tale”, Christine Robinson (former Head Housekeeper), will publish her next book, “Chatsworth, The Housekeeper’s Tips, Tales and Tipples” in March 2017. During her talk, Christine will invite the audience to join her on a journey through an ordinary house, but with particular reference to Chatsworth. In this illustrated talk, she will explore the history surrounding everyday objects, the care required for Chatsworth’s precious objects, and reveal more hidden stories from her forty years’ experience working at the house.

All the talks can be booked online and are taking place in the Hartington Room or the historic theatre. Throughout winter, the Stables shop and restaurant are open daily from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

The annual Peak District Artisans exhibition returns to the Stables with work from more than 30 artists, designer-makers and contemporary craftspeople from across the Peak District on display until 17 March, open daily 10.30am–3.30pm. Admission is free.


Notes to editors:

The Chatsworth House Trust is dedicated to the preservation of Chatsworth House, the art collection, garden, woodlands and park for the long-term benefit of the public.

The charity promotes the study and appreciation of Chatsworth as a place of historic, architectural and artistic interest and of natural beauty, and encourages the use and enjoyment of Chatsworth by visitors for education and recreation.

Chatsworth is a member of the Treasure Houses of England, 10 of the most magnificent palaces, stately homes and castles in England.

Chatsworth is only 16 miles from the M1, 10 miles from Chesterfield, and 8 miles north of Matlock, in the heart of Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park and is well served by transport links throughout the UK.

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For further information or images please contact:

Steve Houghton,

Liz Bee,

Redbrick Communications, 68 St James’s Street, Nottingham, NG1 6FJ.

T: 0115 910 1500

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