NEWS FROM CROOME COURT & PARK

                             
                        A STUDY DAY ON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS AT CROOME COURT

     Following the success of the joint Study Day at Chedworth last year, a further Study Day has been arranged jointly with Cheltenham and Gloucestershire NT Centre and the North Cotswold Association of the National Trust, which will extend over a day from mid-morning to early afternoon to include morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea.  Total cost as shown on the Booking Form (Appendix ‘B’  in the May Newsletter) is £25.00. 

The Study Day is on Wednesday 20th September at Croome, High Green, near Pershore, Worcestershire, WR8 9DW.  The main building, Croome Court, is a mid-18th Century neo-Palladian mansion surrounded by extensive Capability Brown landscaped parkland. There will be an introductory talk highlighting the latest developments at the House including the return of the collection.  All tours will be guided and there are alternative areas of interest in the afternoon for which attendees are required to select their choice.   (For details of the day, see below.)   Members will need to use their own car/transport to attend.  
 
                          Remember to take your National Trust / Volunteer card.  

 
                               Details of the day: 

            10.00am   Arrival and tea/coffee in the restaurant (former RAF Canteen) near Reception.

            10.30am   Guided walk / Shuttle to House - Katherine Alker, Parks Manager. 

            11.00am    Introductory talk (seated) in the Long Gallery on the latest developments at the                                  House including the return of the Collection -  Joe Tierney, House Steward   

            11.30am    Guided Tour of the House - Joe Tierney, House Steward 

            12.45pm    Buffet Lunch   2.00pm    Alternative guided tour options – please select (one only)                                              and indicate below                                                                                                     

                           Tour 1 – RAF Museum – Museum Team (RAF Defford was a Top Secret airbase on the        Croome site which undertook crucial work to develop airborne radar during WW2).                     

                           Tour 2 – Walled Garden – Chris Cronin, Owner.  (The walled garden, dating from the mid-18th Century, is owned privately and was completely derelict before restoration began in 2000.) 

                           Tour 3 – Red Wing – House Team  (Designed by Capability Brown and in a dilapidated state due to a lack of maintenance until taken over by the NT in 2011.  At this stage, only repairs to stabilize the structural integrity have been undertaken, enabling visitors to have a fascinating 'hard hat' tour)

                          3.00pm  Free time to explore / follow up areas of interest.

                          4.00pm  Tea / coffee before leaving.  

 
No guests can be accommodated as places are limited to 15 per Association / Centre.  Note the closing date for applications is 31st July at which time places will be allocated.  Successful applicants will be notified by telephone or email. 
 
Please send your completed Application Form - in May Newsletter, with your cheque and SAE to:  

                              Bill Cronin,   2 Jenner Close,  Hucclecote,  Gloucester,  GL3 3DZ. 

 
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                                                         Creative Croome

                 Croome Redefined Project Bulletin 2016 Review Issue 32 – 2 January 2017 

                           A message from Croome Redefined Project Manager, Richard Higgs:

 We always knew that 2016 would be a big year for Croome with the completion of the building works, the Court fully open and the return of some collection items as part of new displays and exhibitions.  There have been some amazing highlights, but overall I am most proud of the way the team, staff, and volunteers, are embracing the new way of working.  The experience our visitors get at Croome cannot be achieved without everyone really getting behind and supporting the way things look and feel and how we work together.  It has also been hugely satisfying to have shared so much of what we have learnt across the organisation, it seems like a week does not pass without a visit from another property or part of the organisation to see what we have been up to.  I feel confident that we are living up to our ambition of  “Redefining the Country House for the 21st Century”, and that Croome is now a place that will continue to do this well beyond the life of the project because this way of working is now the new normal.   
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Croome wins prestigious heritage accolade 
 
The Croome and Redefined team have received a sought after accolade at the national Museums and Heritage Awards which celebrates the very best work in the industry.

                                                  
 
The award for Highly Commended in the Trading and Enterprise category was given to the team working at Croome for the popular Sky Café which graced the top of the mansion house’s scaffolding in 2015. 

                               
                                                            Celebrating the last day of the Sky Cafe

The award ceremony took place in Northumberland Avenue’s The Grand, off Trafalgar Square, on the evening of Wednesday 18 May and was attended by over 300 representatives from museums and heritage institutions around the country. “The award which Croome was a finalist in was up first and it was nerve wracking!” said Amy ForsterSmith, Croome’s House & Visitor Experience manager who accepted the award during the ceremony. “Croome was up against a lot of stiff competition and we were really proud just to get on the finalists list as they are such important awards. They’re a bit like the Oscars of the heritage world, so to actually win something was astounding.” 

Croome Open House 14 July 2016 

With the building works complete, the first displays in place using items from the collection and the exhibition of Grayson Perry Tapestries newly opened, it was a good moment in the project to invite all key stakeholders, regional consultants, whole trust staff who have been involved in the project and partners and consultants to see all of this in place and to hear about progress.  It was also an opportunity to reflect and celebrate what Croome Redefined has achieved in terms of the completed building works, the physical displays, creative programming, local community involvement, the way the team is working and what this means for the Trust as a whole.   The last major stakeholder event was in October 2014 when the building works were in progress and Sky Café in place.  
 

The Coventry Collection Returns to Croome 
 
 Croome Court is never going to be a traditional National Trust property with rooms full of period artefacts. Instead it is our intention to use much of the space within the court, on a rotating basis, to show items from the remaining Croome Collection in innovative ways.    We are developing  accessible stores on the second floor where we will offer guided tours by volunteers of the various store rooms .  On the first floor we will utilise two rooms, one as an open store  and one will be a conservation studio where visitors can at times come and view items being conserved by our staff and volunteer conservators. The stores on the second floor will be available to view from February 2017 and we are hopeful that the rest will all be in place from the middle of 20
                                                                       

                                                                                          Furniture and Portraits are returned to Croome Court 

The Croome Collection.   The 6th Earl of Coventry, George William, at the age of 28, succeeded as Earl of Coventry on the death of his father in 1751 and inherited Croome Court.  He undertook an ambitious development of the Court and parkland and it was his aim for Croome to be at the height of fashion.  He sought the first and the best of everything that he admired and brought it to Croome Court amassing a fantastic collection of porcelain, furniture, tapestries, paintings and many other contemporary pieces.  

                      Simon Murray  Michael Forster-Smith  Richard Higgs                    The Earl of Coventry chatting to Peter Beresford


 The breakup of the Croome Collection.   As with many landed families, fortunes were won and lost and by 1948, the Earls of Coventry had run out of time and money.  With the onslaught of the Second World War and the tragic loss of the 10th Earl in battle, it was resolved that Croome Court, the park and the estate had to be sold.  The majority of contents of the house that had not previously been sold off were sold at auction and the court itself was sold to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham.   The remainder of the collection which had not sold in the auction was moved to nearby Earls Croome Court where the Coventry’s took up residence. On the death of the 11th Earl in 2002 and the subsequent sale of Earls Croome Court, it became necessary for the Croome Heritage Trustees to find a new home for the porcelain, furniture and family portraits which had been retained. Until recently many of these items (around 1200) have been stored and exhibited at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire.

                               

                                                               Some of the Furniture Collection in the Hall

After extensive remedial and re-servicing work of Croome Court during 2014 to 2016, it is now a suitable environment once again to store and exhibit the remaining items of the collection, and over the last few weeks the Croome treasures have been delivered back to Croome after more than 70 years away. 

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