10 minutes with: Linn Robinson, Museum Officer, as Christmas arrives at Bramall Hall
With its abundance of beautifully maintained historic buildings, such as Bramall Hall, it’s unique past and celebrated people, it is easy to see why Stockport has been selected as Greater Manchester’s Town of Culture.
A real gem in Stockport’s cultural crown is Bramall Hall,
one of the UK’s most spectacular examples of an exceptionally well-preserved, instance of medieval architecture. Standing in 70 acres of woodland walks and gardens, the hall whisks visitors back to the Tudor era and a taste of what life was really like in the 14th century (we had an early reminder when Linn Robinson used her walky-talky to communicate with colleagues, “there’s no mobile reception in the Hall.”)
Linn has been a museum officer for over 20 years, spending the last eight years at Bramall Hall.
“I am so lucky; this is my dream and the best job in the world! I love the hall and telling people about its historic past is an absolute joy. We are so lucky to have a great team here: my colleagues and I are supported by teams of volunteers, including the Friends of Bramall Hall who help the council’s team to keep the park looking lovely and often lend a hand ‘front of house’ and in the Visitor Centre.
“I get a huge buzz from sharing this place and its history with visitors, our local community and the team. We are all custodians of this 600-year-old magnificent hall, and I am passionate about ensuring we keep the building alive for the next 600 years.”
It was the opening day of Christmas at Bramall Hall when we visited
and the Hall’s team of 8 were ready to welcome the first visitors of the festive season. Alongside the charm of the decorated hall is a fun trail for children; spot all 12 elves and win a prize – a great way to begin engaging with children while introducing history at a very young age.
This year’s theme – Claret & Champagne –
has seen the Hall transformed into a sumptuous, winter palace, of rich reds and glittering golds. 28 hugely talented volunteers have been responsible for dressing all eleven rooms as Linn explains:
“We start planning for Christmas in March. When we are settled on a theme, our team of inspired volunteers get to work on their designs before having a good rummage through boxes of decorations collected over 30 or so years, looking out for the perfect bauble, table piece or glass vase to create their new festive work of art. They often add new bits which is why our collection gets bigger and better every year.
“Our volunteers spent two days setting up their festive works of art ahead of opening our doors today. We allocate a different team to each of the eleven rooms. I’m sure the Hall looks more splendid every year.
“We are looking forward to welcoming our visitors again this year. It’s so brilliant to see their faces when they step into the magnificence of the Banqueting Hall, the splendour of the Great Hall and the breath-taking Solar.”
The Solar houses the original painted walls from the 1530’s –
one of the most extensive and well-preserved suite of wall paintings surviving in England today. Today, huge snowflakes, all individually cut, are hanging to form a rich, deep red sky:
“This is one of my favourite rooms (I get the impression Linn has many ‘favourite’ rooms). Team Bramall have decorated the Solar; I think it looks spectacular – each snowflake is unique, and the rafters are stunning.”
Although it was cold outside, the Hall provides a very warm welcome,
thanks to Charles and Mary Nevill. In 1882, Charles & Mary were gifted Bramall Hall as a wedding gift from Charles’ father Thomas, owner of a successful textile printing business. They set about renovating and building new rooms at the Hall, including installing a very effective Victorian central heating system to the ground floor! Respectful of its historic past, Charles & Mary ensured their work was sympathetic to the original structure and concentrated on restoring it to its former Tudor glory.
Bramall Hall is impressive for so many reasons: its historic past, its amazing examples of Tudor architecture and the techniques used to build such magnificent homes; its traditional furniture, and artefacts; its beautiful setting and its warm welcome.
We hope the photographs above will give you a tiny peek into the delights – and the elves – that you can look forward to this Christmas at Bramall Hall.
Bramall Hall is open to visitors:
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 11am – 4.30pm (last entry is 3.45pm).
Tickets can be purchased online – https://stockport-museums.arttickets.org.uk/bramall-hall-stockport/ or from the Visitor Centre at the Hall.
Have a lovely visit!
Linn Robinson was in conversation with Helen White
Video by Richard Higginson
Has Bramall dropped its ‘h’?
It’s a question asked by many – why is Bramall Hall spelt differently to Bramhall?
By the 1900s, the area around the hall had become known as Bramhall. When the local council acquired the hall in 1935, they decided to drop the ‘h’, naming it Bramall Hall in Bramhall!