Staff of Hutton Castle - request for information
A public campaign by the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, is underway to identify former members of staff who were employed at Sir William’s former residence, Hutton Castle, in the Scottish Borders.
Sir William purchased Hutton Castle in 1916, but did not move in until 1927, where he lived with his art collection of some 9,000 objects until his death in 1958.
As part of the Burrell Collection’s £66 million refurbishment, Curator Neil Johnson-Symington is seeking the public’s help to identify former domestic staff employed at the castle from 1920’s -1940’s. With previously unseen photographs from the 1930’s donated by Peter Clark, the son of Sir William’s former butler of the same name, members of the public are being asked to come forward with long forgotten family memories and anecdotes of what life was like for the Burrell’s domestic servants.
The Burrell’s are understood to have employed 10 domestic servants including a butler, a cook and a liveried footman as well as gardeners, gamekeepers and chauffeurs. The task is now underway to identify staff depicted in some 15 photographs donated by Peter Clark.
The information received from the public will be used to create a new gallery within the Burrell Collection which will introduce the Burrell family and offer a glimpse of what life was like at Hutton Castle. Example furniture and decorative art objects will be arranged to evoke the impression of a domestic space in which the objects where displayed and used. Interpretation for this gallery will focus on the lives of those who lived at Hutton Castle – primarily the Burrell family and domestic staff – and will offer visitors clues as to how the different rooms and collection items at the Castle were used.
The combination of displays inspired by the interiors of Hutton Castle along with increased interpretation will create an immersive space which will give visitors the impression of a private domestic setting, enabling them to fully appreciate the objects, just as Sir William, Lady Constance, their family and staff did.
Press clippings from the time give an insight into what life was like. According to the Berwickshire News and General Advertiser, October 1935, Mary Wenwick, the domestic servant, was reported as being on the wrong side of the law after being charged with using a pedal bicycle for the conveying of two persons. Both Mary Renwick, domestic servant, Hutton Castle, and James Stebling, farm worker, Gunsgreen Gardens, both pled guilty, stating they had acted out of ignorance. They were “dismissed with an admonition.”
At various times during the Burrells’ lives at Hutton, the following staff are known to have been employed at the castle: Peter Clark (butler); Peter Freeny (cook); Jim Guthrie (maintenance, particularly of castle generator); Erich and Maria Hofer (butler and cook); Lexie Lesenger (domestic service and office worker); James Lornie (head gardener until around time of his death in 1930); Mr Phillips (chauffeur); John Pringle (estates); Duncan Rankin (chauffeur); Mary Renwick (domestic servant); Ethel Todd Shiel (secretary); Julia Turbitt (housemaid) and Jimmy Wallace (gamekeeper).
If you know of a relative or family friend who worked for the Burrell’s in the 1920’s – 1940’s or have any family anecdotes about Hutton Castle at the time, then please contact Claire Rocha at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Burrell Collection
• The Burrell Collection is a major cultural asset for the City of Glasgow and the nation, and is of international significance. The museum and its Collection which numbers almost 9,000 items, is managed by Glasgow Life on behalf of Glasgow City Council. It has a rich and varied scope, ranging from ancient prehistoric artefacts to ground-breaking works by Impressionists such as Manet and Degas. Its particular strengths lie in late medieval art, Chinese ceramics, bronzes and jades, Islamic pile carpets and French 19th century paintings.
• The Collection, which reflects Sir William Burrell’s lifelong passion for art and history, was donated to the City of Glasgow by Sir William and Lady Burrell. The decision to give the Collection to Sir William’s home city in 1944 has been described as one of the greatest gifts a city has ever received.
• The Burrell Collection closed to the public in October 2016, allowing work to commence on an estimated £66 million refurbishment of the Grade A category building and redisplay of the collections, creating a new visitor experience. Before the museum’s temporary closure, only some 20 per cent of the exceptional Collection was on display.
• Plans for the refurbishment and redisplay of the Burrell will see the museum’s public space increase by 83% and gallery space increase by 35% with store rooms on the lower ground floor open to the public for the first time. As well as improved facilities including café and retail opportunities, landscaped terraces will link the museum to its parkland setting, enhancing the visitor experience.
• A re-interpretation of treasures of the Collection will also tell much more of a story about their importance and how they were collected, with an increase in artworks on display across the museum’s collections.
• Refurbishment plans will also turn the building into an energy efficient, modern museum. In addition, a much greater proportion of the 9,000-strong Collection will be accessible with stores visible to the public for the first time.
• Throughout the Burrell’s refurbishment an exhibition of works from the Burrell will be on display at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow, allowing citizens and visitors alike to enjoy some of Burrell’s treasures. An international tour is also showcasing works from the Collection, raising the Burrell’s profile worldwide and promoting Glasgow as one of the world’s great cultural cities.
For further information, please contact:
Claire Rocha da Cruz
Communications Specialist, Burrell Collection
T: +44 (0)7471 142 082, E: email@example.com
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