Donation brings funding and job opportunity to Kiplin Hall

Director of Kiplin Hall and Gardens James Etherington pictured outside of the historic house museum holding antique swan shaped ice-cream mould fitting.

Kiplin Hall and Gardens has benefitted from a donation of a vast collection of Victorian kitchen and dairy antiques.

Originally owned by renowned antiques dealer Annie Marchant, who lived in Kent, the collection includes machines, pots, pans, and utensils that were used in the kitchen and dairy during the Victorian era.

Items from her collection were sometimes hired out and used on television.

Comedian Victoria Wood used them on the set of her soap opera parody Acorn Antiques during the mid-80s.

Sadly, Annie Marchant died, aged just 68, this spring.

In her will she left instructions for her collection to be donated to a museum.

Kiplin Hall and Gardens, near Scorton, applied for the collection and has been successful in acquiring it, along with a generous financial sum to ensure its safe keeping for the future.

James Etherington, director of Kiplin Hall and Gardens, said: “We are very grateful to become the new home for Annie Marchant’s impressive collection.

“Much of our current collection includes art, fine furniture, and the possessions of the families who lived here at Kiplin over the last 400 years. But those items do not always tell the whole story of the people who worked and lived here. A house like Kiplin would have required staff and servants.

“We know there was a dairy on site, and larger kitchens and servant’s accommodation existed next to the hall, but they were demolished some time ago.

“Annie’s collection will help us to explore the stories and lives of the sorts of people who worked and lived at Kiplin outside of the family ownership.”

Annie’s obituary was written by a friend of hers, Hugh Darrah, and was published in The Guardian in April.

Hugh described Miss Marchant as a “lively, talkative and strong-minded woman who held unshakeable views about almost everything – the best word I can think of to describe her thought processes was that everything should be proper – it was, she believed, proper to be frugal, proper to reuse and recycle, proper to grow your own vegetables, proper to preserve produce at harvest time, proper to look after wounded animals”.

Mr Etherington added: “At Kiplin we have a number of strong women in the family tree, but on reading Annie Marchant’s obituary we were struck by just how similar she sounds to our own Bridget Talbot.

Miss Talbot was the last owner of Kiplin Hall and is credited with saving it for the nation.

“They sound very similar in their tenacity and will to preserve history.

“The Victorian walled garden, produce from which is used in our Tea Room, alongside the fine dining room in the Hall set the perfect context for the Annie Marchant collection which fills a gap in the telling of Kiplin’s story.

“We feel confident that the previous owners of the Hall, especially Miss Talbot, would be delighted to have Annie’s collection here.”

Utilizing the funding which accompanies the collection Kiplin Hall and Gardens is also recruiting a member of staff to see to the project through to completion.

The post of project officer is currently being advertised online at

The successful candidate will work to create a temporary exhibition due to open in February 2021.

The post holder will conduct research, manage the care of the collection, create learning materials, and contribute to long term plans to house and display the collection at Kiplin. A partiality to enjoy cake is also desirable, as with all vacancies at Kiplin!

Since the lockdown Kiplin has reported its busiest ever July. This previously much loved but little-known attraction says it has enjoyed welcoming many more local families; thought to be a result of the trend to love local and visit destinations on your doorstep post lockdown.