Said to be one of the most significant Elizabethan houses in England, it was built by Bess of Hardwick, one of the richest women in Britain in the 1590's.
The stone mason/architect was Robert Smythson, his other work included Longleat House in Wiltshire, Woolaton Hall in Nottinghamshire, Burghley House in Lincolnshire and Burton Agnes Hall in Yorkshire. It is an early style of country house when it no longer became necessary to fortify them. His son John produced Bolsover Castle, for the son of Bess.
It was handed over to the Treasury in exchange for death duties in 1956 and then given to the National Trust, the Old Hall is also owned by the National Trust but administered and managed by English Heritage.
Next to it is Hardwick Old Hall its predecessor and later was used as guest and service accommodation after the new hall was built. The Old Hall is now a ruin.
There is new stable yard project in hand and the result is expected to be open on 2012, this is going to include all year opening and have shops, restaurants, plant sales etc. They are also going to be creating a new car park. Currently there is a cafe in the kitchens of the hall, so one of the most interesting features of this fine building is not shown well. With the development of the stable block hopefully they will have the kitchens on display fully.
Hardwick Hall also has extensive gardens.
We plan to produce another guide to Hardwick Hall and perhaps a gallery of images to go with it, this location guide is just looking at a 'then and now' photographic challenge. Changes over the last 100 plus years have included tree growth and the gardens at the front of the house is now laid out differently.
The old 1905 Photochrome above of Hardwick Hall shows this hall and front entrance yard/garden, plus to the right a slight peep behind the garden wall. Its taken from the roof of the lodge on the front of the Old Hall. This position is not accessible to you today so the nearest you can get is in the grounds just inside the garden wall, and to the right slightly to avoid a very large tree.
Hardwick New Hall in 2010
The nearer you get the more the building will appear to slop backwards. We could take a wider view closer and then correct it in Photoshop, use a perspective control lens, that has a sliding front element or use a camera on a pole. See our article on Making Buildings Stand Up Straight for more on this.
This shows the reverse view form the position the previous image was taken, and you can see the piece of roof area on the lodge that the photographer was on. It would not help today as there is a rather large tree that would block most of the view.
From a high window in the Old Hall you can get a view of the New Hall, and from this see both the roof, on the left, that was used to take the Photochrome images and a part of the Old Hall and behind the wall into the garden.
This image however does show that if you had a reasonable high pole camera and put it on the grass the other side of the piece of remaining wall on the right, you would get a fairly near image to the Photochrome.
From this image you can see that once you were well above the wall, you would get a fairly clear view of the house.
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