New exhibition examines role of Kiplin Hall staff

The table is laid with a place for each of the nine main roles at a house like Kiplin Hall.

A new exhibition will examine the role played by staff at Kiplin Hall.

Silent Footsteps opens to the public at the historic house near Scorton on Friday, March 11 and is included with standard admission.

Kiplin spokesperson Samantha Jennings said: “From butler and housekeeper, to maid and postboy, people made great houses like Kiplin Hall run smoothly for their wealthy owners.

“Silent Footsteps shines a light on the lives of the people who worked at Kiplin in the past, exploring their duties and tasks through objects from the Annie Marchant Kitchen and Dairy Collection.

“Through research we have glimpsed more about the lives of these individuals, their families, and ties to the local community.”

Visitors can learn about people like Elizabeth Wheatley the housekeeper from 1845 to 1851 who married the local draper, John Tutin. Alongside expectations of hard work, life for some much-loved staff was good.

The rules were bent on occasion, like for butler John Alton. John worked at Kiplin for 50 years from 1808, living out with his own family in an estate cottage.

Butlers were normally required to live in the house, without a family of their own, to be on hand at all hours.

Samantha added: “Looking back into the duties of maids we can see the extravagances of the wealthy owner families. Ice cream in the 1800s, elaborate pies made in copper moulds, imported coffee and tea, and sweet treats.

“Valuable items like coffee, wine, and even the dinner service itself, were kept under lock and key to be manged by senior staff.

“Many of these indulgences can still be enjoyed today in the Tea Room, currently shortlisted for an award from the Flavours of Herriot Country.

“Objects in the exhibition are displayed in thought provoking silhouettes of domestic furniture hand painted by local artist Sarah Jarman.”

Silent Footsteps opens to the public on Friday, March 11 and is included with standard admission, day and annual tickets available.

Kiplin Hall and Gardens is open six days a week, closed on Thursdays.

Please note this exhibition is on the third floor and is only accessible via the stairs.

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