Nostell Priory’s stately home in miniature gets ready to open doors

moRE than one set of doors at Nostell Priory have remained closed throughout lockdown.

But as visitors prepare once again to be enthralled by its splendour, the residents of its dolls house have also had something of a spring clean in preparation for re-opening.

Indoor visitors to the house, in Wragby, near Wakefield, will once again be welcomed from next Wednesday after being forced to close its doors to visitors in December.

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Curators at the National Trust (NT) owned Priory, which was built in 1733 for the Winn family, have been hard at work ensuring the house is fit for inspection from history lovers who have been longing for their stately home fix.

Sophie Bryan, Collections Assistant for the National Trust at Nostell Priory, taking great care to inspect the famous Dolls House before cleaning.

Sophie Bryan, collections assistant, has been tasked with ensuring the celebrated 18th century Dolls’ House is ready for the grand-opening. As beautiful as the Dolls’ House is – and it is regarded as one of the finest of its kind in the country – it has a tragic history.

It was made in the 1730s around the same time the house was being built and furnished by Susanna Henshaw, the wife of the fourth baronet. While not an exact replica of the house, it is furnished in a similar style with colourful, intricate wallpaper and lush textures.

There is some suggestion Susanna Henshaw may have used the house as a “mood board” for furniture inspiration –but her dreams for Nostell Priory never came to pass as she died in childbirth aged just 32.

In 2019, a £100,000 fundraising bid to save it has restored the house to its former glories. It is famous for its collection of Chippendale furniture.

Other NT properties throughout England will also re-open. Hilary McGrady, director general, said “This is a big moment that we have all looked forward to for months as we welcome people back safely, to spend time together at their favourite properties.”