To visit the Gardens, Gallery and House, you no longer need to pre-book a timed admission slot online (simply purchase gardens admission on arrival). Summer Late openings take place every Wednesday evening.
The house opens on Saturday!!
The whole team have been busy helping get it up to standard. The Gallery spaces have been reclaimed - this means that the rooms used have not been restored, as this would take much more time and money than is available at the moment, a lovely little 2nd hand bookshop has been created, and a stunning area for a tea room has been cleared.
The idea is that the public will be able to experience the transitional nature of Hestercombe House. There are records of a house on this site right back to medieval times, with plans revealing a huge old hall taking up most of the area at the front of the house. The house passed through families, centuries and new design ideas - finally ending with the functionality instilled by the council.
Now we have removed miles of electrical cabling, pulled up floorboards and carpet tiles, scrubbed, painted and polished to bring to the public an amalgamation of history and design. And now with the first exhibition 'Leaping the Fence' that concept is pushed further with contemporary art of our time.
As visitors enter the house they will first be met by the Main Hall and the curling wooden staircase. To the right is The Dining Room, which is about as original at Hestercombe House gets, and to the left is the Portman Room and the beginning of the exhibition. Down the corridor to the right is the Column Tea-Room, the Jasmine room which is being used as a bookshop and the toilets. To the corridor to the left is a medieval archway, carved in stone, visible through the plaster. Up the stairs the majority of the first floor is being used for the Gallery.
1: Ben Knight (& the whole team!) scrubbing the floors to try to remove skree from the tiles. Sadly they have been ruined.
2: the bookshop volunteers stacking the shelves.
3: The Dining Room at the right of the entrance, one of the only remaining rooms in near historical accuracy. Paintings of the Bampfylde family being put up where they originally hung.
4: An arctic arrives with the art for the first exhibition 'Leaping the Fence'. The Arts Council and curator Tim have been carefully re-assembling the works in the correct rooms for the last week or so.