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3 new winter exhibitions at Scotney, Chartwell and Sissinghurst

PUBLISHED: 12:38 14 November 2017

Bagpuss at Sissinghurst (© Smallfilrms V&A)

Bagpuss at Sissinghurst (© Smallfilrms V&A)

(c)Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Three exciting new exhibitions are taking place over the winter at Scotney Castle, Chartwell and Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Churchill statue at Chartwell (© NT/Katherine Barnett) Churchill statue at Chartwell (© NT/Katherine Barnett)

Even though winter has well and truly arrived, there’s no need to hibernate at home. The National Trust is hosting several fascinating exhibitions around the county to tempt and inspire you out.

From winding back the decades with Bagpuss and friends at Sissinghurst to recognising a decade of hard work at Scotney Castle and celebrating a devoted spouse at Chartwell, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this November.

A decade of discoveries

In 2007 the National Trust took over the care of the Victorian mansion house at Scotney Castle. While the priority was to prepare the main rooms for public viewing, a huge effort was also devoted to unlocking the hidden collection and archives and recording the eclectic contents.

Now, an exhibition of some of the paperwork and objects discovered and archived over the past 10 years is taking place at Scotney. It opens this month and continues through to early 2018.

Exhibits will include paintings furniture, ceramics and letters, giving unprecedented insight into the Hussey family’s story.

The house was commissioned in 1835 by Edward Hussey III. It passed down through the generations, until Christopher Hussey bequeathed the gardens and woodland estate to the National Trust on his death in 1970. His widow, Betty, continued to live in the house until her death in 2006.

• The exhibition runs from November 2017 until 4 February 2018, 11am to 3pm daily (closed 24 and 25 December). Admission is included via timed tickets after normal property admission has been paid.

Darling Clementine

Meanwhile, at Chartwell a new exhibition opens this month about the life of Lady Clementine Churchill. She was the devoted wife of British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill for more than 56 years, and mother to the couple’s five children.

The Churchill family cherished the rural tranquillity they found at Chartwell, particularly Sir Winston, who used the country estate as an escape from the hustle and bustle of political life in London.

The exhibition will focus on Clementine and her role, both as a political leader’s spouse and as a wife and mother raising her family at Chartwell.

It will include personal mementoes, such as her photos, private letters and gifts she received from family, friends and political contacts. Many of the objects are on public display for the first time and have been chosen to help tell Clementine’s story from her unique perspective.

• The exhibition, entitled ‘Clementine Churchill – speaking for herself,’ opens 18 November 2017 from 11am until 3pm and runs until 18 February 2018 (closed 24 and 25 December). It is free to enter after normal property admission has been paid.

Childhood memories

Also opening this month is a special exhibition in the Oast House at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, which is hosting ‘Clangers, Bagpuss & Co’, organised by the V&A Museum of Childhood, telling the story of much-loved family TV favourites.

Beloved characters such as Bagpuss, the old floppy cat, and the mysterious Soup Dragon from The Clangers will be on display, along with the adventurous Noggin the Nog. The exhibition will also take visitors behind the scenes to reveal some of the secrets behind such programmes as Ivor the Engine and Pogles’ Wood.

These household names were all brought to life on the TV screen by puppeteers Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, who also provided their voices. The two worked together on animated children’s TV programmes from 1959 until the 1980s through their company, Smallfilms, shaping the childhood memories of millions.

Firmin’s connection to Sissinghurst extends back through the decades, as the illustrator of some of Vita’s poetry too.

As well as some of the puppets, the exhibition will feature original sets and filming equipment. It will tell the story of the characters’ development, uncovering how Firmin and Postgate established their stop-frame animation techniques.

• Clangers, Bagpuss & Co runs from 11 November 2017 until 14 February 2018, 11am to 4pm (closed 24 and 25 December). Free after normal property admission.

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