Kelmarsh, Northampton,
Northants NN6 9LY

Kelmarsh, Northampton,
Northants NN6 9LY

Kelmarsh Hall


Kelmarsh Garden

Gardens: CLOSED

Kelmarsh Tea Room

Tea Rooms: 11AM - 5PM


September 30, 2012

The Great Hall of Kelmarsh, designed by James Gibbs in the early 18th century (c.1723 – 32), decorated by Nancy Lancaster in the early 1930s, and subsequently redecorated by John Fowler in the 1950s, has been the subject of constant debate during the last 50 years.

Like most historic buildings, Kelmarsh Hall has to earn its keep and the current worn and faded appearance of the Fowler scheme may have a certain charm but it certainly does not reflect the classical splendour of the original Gibbs interior, or the excitement and élan of Nancy Lancaster’s famous scheme. 

There are clearly several options for the future presentation of the Great Hall and each option has its group of fervent advocates.  

The Trustees of Kelmarsh Hall have invited six leading experts in the field of historic interiors to speak in favour of one of six possible options at The Great Debate: How to Present the Great Hall, on Thursday the 22nd November 2012, from 10am to 5pm.

The Chair Dr Anna Bülow will monitor the debate and then open the floor to the audience for an open discussion of the options available to the Trustees. The day’s discussion will be of great relevance to all heritage professionals managing change and facing similar decisions in their own historic buildings. This event may count for 3 hours CPD. 


10.00 Registration & Coffee
Open House – An opportunity for delegates to visit the principal rooms of Kelmarsh Hall and inspect the Great Hall

11.00 Welcome & Introduction                                                 
Chair: Dr Anna Bülow                                               
Kelmarsh Trust – Aims and Objectives of the Trust 

11.30 The structural and decorative history
of the Great Hall at Kelmarsh Hall Helen Hughes

11.40 Conservation Decisions in Context Eddie Booth     

12.00 Option 1 Recreation – Gibbs Scheme Sir Timothy Clifford 

12.20 Option 2 Nancy Lancaster – Recreated Una Richards

12.40 Option 3 John Fowler – Recreated Marianne Suhr

1.00 Lunch

2.00 Option 4 John Fowler – Conservation Elizabeth Hirst

2.20 Option 5 New Scheme – Spirit of Nancy To be confirmed

2.40 Option 6 Do Nothing Dr Ian Gow

3.00 Tea

3.30 Question & Answer Speakers & Audience

4.30 Summing up

5.00 Depart

The cost is £95 including VAT - Please RSVP by November 8th.

The Kelmarsh Trust is grateful to the following companies for their sponsorship of The Great Debate:

  •         Berrys
  •         David Smith Associates
  •         Harris & Clarke Chartered Accountants
  •         Cripps Harries Hall
  •         Weston Allison Wright Ltd
  •         Portfolio Events 

Get in touch