The Ground Floor, part one
Thanks to Arts Council England (ACE) funding I am able to embark upon a re-display of Normanby Hall, to be launched in March 2021.
When Normanby Hall was leased to Scunthorpe Borough Council (now North Lincolnshire Council) in 1964, the curator displayed the rooms according to the 1905 architect plans of Walter Brierley. These plans show the Library as the first room on the left when you enter the Hall, and the two rooms on the right as Drawing Rooms.
The ACE funding has given me the opportunity to re-display these rooms to more accurately reflect their uses when the house was first built, between 1825 and 1830, in the Regency era. Through research we have discovered that it is much more likely that what is currently displayed as the Library was actually Sir Robert Sheffield’s Study; the East Silk Drawing Room was actually the Library; and the West Silk Drawing Room was the sole Drawing Room.
A major task for me during lockdown was to update the inventory of all the items on display on the ground floor. Through this inventory, I have been able to pinpoint objects that are post-Regency era and make plans for their removal from display. A task I thoroughly enjoyed was to sift through all the books in the three bookcases in the Library, discovering books that belonged to Sir John Sheffield (1743-1815) and Sir Robert Sheffield (1786-1862). I also marvelled at the age of some of the books. The oldest one I found dates to 1610.
I am now able to make plans of the rooms ready for removing some furniture and furnishings, moving some pieces around, and adding new pieces. It’s so exciting to have the opportunity to get the rooms just how I need them in order to give visitors a much more accurate view of Regency life in a country house.