‘What the butler saw’ exhibition at Holkham Hall

Surridge the butler carves the Christmas turkey in 1940, watched by the 3rd Earl of Leicester
Surridge the butler carves the Christmas turkey in 1940, watched by the 3rd Earl of Leicester
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A new exhibition “What the Butler Saw” is opening at Holkham Hall on Saturday. This fascinating exhibition will give visitors a unique insight into the lives of the many staff who have lived and worked on the family-owned estate.

Following the launch the exhibition will continue throughout the summer and until October 31, which means that visitors, whilst exploring the magnificent state rooms, will have the chance to discover how this vast house was kept running like clockwork.

You will experience Holkham from the perspective of the butler and other staff, learn what it takes to lay a table for a stately dinner party and what food guests of the Earl of Leicester would have been served 100 years ago.

Coming face to face with key Holkham characters such as Surridge the butler, Paterson the head gardener and Scrivener the chauffeur, visitors can explore Holkham’s archives to find out more about the intriguing lives of the staff, such as who the ladies’ maid fell in love with and what the kitchen boy dreamt of.

The exhibition incorporates unseen photographs and original uniforms, alongside historic documents and personal memories to showcase the various staff roles at Holkham.

Throughout history, royalty, leading society and political figures of the day have stayed in Holkham Hall, with the servants’ quarters adapting to the demands of these important guests.

From a staff of over 50 in 1914, find out how many staff it takes to run the hall today; explore personal experiences and colourful stories of the people who have helped to keep this great house running throughout the last 200 years.

Visitors to the hall will have the unique chance to walk in the shoes of those who have worked at Holkham, with dressing up for children, mystery objects to explore and ‘hidden’ passages to be discovered.

Entrance to the exhibition is included in standard admission to visit Holkham Hall, Field to Fork Experience and the Walled Garden.

Tickets are £15 adult, £7.50 child, £41 family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children); for more information and opening times visit www.holkham.co.uk/events/exhibitions/what-the-butler-saw-2017