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Living Paintings

Heritage Day Trip

Suitable for: Book Clubs

Discover the secrets of a stately home, the knightly goings on at a castle and the life of a lowly farm worker.

Listen to an audio clip

We've been inspired to share with you, three households of the past - a castle, a farmstead and a stately home.
Now, imagine that you are entering the building as a visitor in the fifteenth century. Here at Bayleaf most food is cooked on the open hearth in the hall.
Walking through the cross passage, you turn left and see a familiar scene.
The scene that greets you is a dramatic one, with splashes of vivid colour set against the dark walls; the flames of the fire licking up towards the smoky blackness of the roof high above. 'Scene' is probably the right word to use here because the hall is set up like a small theatre - you are the 'audience' and the end of the hall in which you have entered has no windows, like a darkened auditorium.
Hardwick is my favourite Elizabethan house, partly because it is such an extraordinary building, partly because I've known it since I was a child, for I used to go and stay there with my great-aunt Evie - Duchess and later Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. I can just remember the house before the war when it was still going full blast - talking, as a little boy, to the footmen as they polished the silver, and going to visit my mother in the morning as she lay in one of the grandest four-poster beds.
Bodiam Castle in East Sussex exemplifies both the logic and the beauty of late Gothic castles. The almost square stronghold constructed of fine masonry is in the middle of a man-made lake. Round towers at each corner (curved walls being strongest as constructions and also most difficult to attack) gave views in every direction.
Until near the end of the 19th century, few people saw any future for historic buildings other than gradual decay, and indeed Lord Curzon was first enchanted by Bodiam as an ivy-clad ruin which he bought in 1916. He bequeathed it to the National Trust in 1925.

What's inside

  • 10 copies of two or three raised tactile images.
  • Audio descriptions with music and sound effects in your chosen format of either CD or USB.
  • Coloured picture book of the raised images. Guidance Notes to help you make the most of using this book.
  • An ‘Articles for the Blind’ returns label for the free and convenient return of the box.

Touch to see image list

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex, Built in 1385
Bayleaf Farmstead, West Sussex, 15th Century
Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, built in 1590

What our members say

Such an effective tool ! The handouts, images and CD were such an effective tool for the group to understand the buildings and narratives. Discussion, personal stories and nostalgia were shared. Library Member

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