Decked halls bow out ready for new year

Christmas decorations at Chatsworth House
Christmas decorations at Chatsworth House
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PANTOMIME-themed Christmas decorations which have attracted tens of thousands of visitors to a country estate will be taken down over the next few days – ready for events in 2013.

Costumes including an authentic 18th century footman livery from the Chatsworth archive were used to dress up staff as characters from favourite festive stories.

The lower floors of the house were transformed with fantastic decorations made by Chatsworth’s in-house design team, with one room turned into Hansel and Gretel’s gingerbread house. Costumed guides brought to life 13 tales altogether.

A Chatsworth spokeswoman said all the staff involved with the decorations were proud of what they had achieved, and added: “Christmas has gone very well this year.

“The pantomime theme was really popular with children and adults and we’ve had lots of positive comments about the quality of the displays and the costumes.”

Estate workers now plan to share their secrets in “behind the scenes” talks, starting next month.

Those taking part include head housekeeper Christine Robinson who will explain her team’s work when the house is closed to the public.

Head of arts and historic collections Matthew Hirst will talk about the Devonshire Collection and head of gardens and landscape Steve Porter will give a presentation about the great gardener Joseph Paxton and his Chatsworth legacy.

The talks will begin on January 18 in the Hartington Room at the Chatsworth Stables and will cost £10 per person.

An exhibition of work by Peak District artisans will also open in the Carriage House restaurant on January 8.

The spokeswoman added: “We know that lots of people enjoy exploring the parkland during the winter months.

“With the talks and artisans joining us, there are even more reasons to visit this winter.”