Croome is a hive of activity this year with the return of a lot of its most important contents from storage to give a feeling of a lived in space after all the years given over to restoration. For this and other reasons C
roome is planned to be the focus of the Study Day arranged jointly with The North Cotswold Association this autumn.

The Study Day last year was as great success, and we hope to repeat it again at Croome.  Because it is such a popular property at weekends, we are planning a mid-week Study Day this year. We are planning it for the 20th September but at this stage a lot of work needs to be carried out by the staff at Croome to check availability of guides and speakers so this date may have to be changed.

We are concentrating on a number of key areas and plan that all the activities will have their own guides dedicated to the study group.  All the talks will be in seated areas and transport to the house will be by vehicle if members do not wish to walk between the house and reception. 

There will be a choice of activities after lunch which could include a guided tour of the on-site Defford RAF Museum showing details of the property’s wartime use,with its special exhibition on the role of women in WWII, or a guided tour of the Red Wing of the House after major but basic repairs making it available for study by groups like ours. Finally there may be the opportunity to have a guided tour of the walled garden formerly part of the property until being sold off, but being restored by the owners.  Defford museum and the walled garden are both a short walk away from reception.

Altogether it could make an interesting and instructive day and well worth the effort.  More information will be in the next newsletter including a booking form.        
Bill Cronin                                                                                         

                                      NEWS FROM CROOME COURT & PARK
                                                        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.   

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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