Lincolnshire-based Burghley House, one of the largest Elizabethan homes in the UK, is hoping to provide a rare glimpse into estate life with the launch of its Real Studios-designed education and visitor centre The Brewhouse.
The consultancy has created the exhibition design, while Studio HB has developed the graphics. Real Studios was appointed to the project following a three-way pitch in 2004 and drafted in Studio HB last year. Both have collaborated closely on the project to create designs that complement a £2m redevelopment program at Burghley House.
Three spaces make up the centre: an audio-visual exhibition room, a treasury exhibition area and an interactive children’s learning zone. These tell the history of the house, display the family’s private collection of heirlooms and provide hands-on learning activities for children.
The audio-visual zone has been branded ‘Ancestors in the Attic’ and will feature video footage of dialogues between Burghley House family members projected onto the interior walls of the building. ‘This will give more information than a guided tour and tell the story of the house,’ says Alistair McCaw, director at Real Studios.
A main exhibition area will hold a series of rotating displays, the first of which is the family’s collection of Chinese snuff bottles.
The education facilities will initially comprise a play area featuring a series of magnetic panels allowing children to recreate wood carvings that are found in the rest of the house.
Burghley House received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to help kick-start the process of repairing The Brewhouse, which began last year.
Richard Griffiths Architects is the architect on the scheme. Robyn Llewellyn, Heritage Lottery Fund manager, says, ‘In addition to saving the building, the project is an exciting opportunity to open up this aspect of estate life, especially for young people.’
The Brewhouse opens on 24 May. It was designed in the mid-18th century by landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and served as a slaughterhouse, brewhouse and bakehouse for the Burghley estate.