East Yorkshire
4th - 8th June 2018
One of a series of unique, small-group tours, staying in good quality hotels and led by the key experts in the field, exploring the impact of technology on our great country houses and the people who lived and worked there.
Led by Professor Marilyn Palmer MBE
4 nights, half-board in 4 star accommodation - from £795 per person
( Includes about £80 of entrance and special tour fees. Discount for NT members )
Special half-price book offer:
"Technology in the Country House" by Marilyn Palmer and Ian West available with this tour
This tour is now fully booked

During the late 18th and 19th centuries a variety of technological innovations were becoming available to enhance the comfort and convenience of domestic life but, far from urban centres, the great Country Houses had to be self sufficient in the provision of gas, electricity, sanitation and water supply if they wished to make use of them.

Subsequently, the decline of many country houses, together with their being donated to the National Trust and their opening to the public, has meant that less alteration has taken place than in domestic property and evidence survives of the impact which these innovations had on the buildings, landscape and social structure.

For a number of years Professor Marilyn Palmer and Dr Ian West have been studying the technology in a wide range of country houses, examining both the physical remains and the historical evidence and trying to place them in the wider context of the effects they had on country house servants as well as house owners, families and guests.

Heritage of Industry is delighted to have secured Prof. Palmer and Dr West to lead this series of unique tours where they will guide us through some of theses grand residences, help us to understand some of the fascinating artefacts still to be seen and explain how they changed the lives of those who lived there – both above and below stairs.

Unlike coach company tours, which rely on the normal guides, our expert leaders, working in conjunction with the Collections Managers, give a unique insight to these properties. In most cases, we secure access to the properties early in the day when the houses are not yet open to the public so that we will have the place to ourselves for the duration of the tour and in certain cases are granted permission to see areas not normally open to the public.

At each property, after our special tour, we try to make time for you to further explore the house and gardens.

This tour explores East Yorkshire, an area of great natural beauty and with some magnificent examples of the great Country House with the remains of some fascinating early technology. Only one of the houses included on this tour belongs to the National Trust - the rest are private houses or English Heritage.

Note that the order of visits may vary from that shown below


Day 1

The tour begins at our hotel just outside Doncaster where we will be spending the first two nights.

Dinner will be served in a private room after which there will be a talk by Marilyn Palmer: “An Introduction to Country House Technology”

Day 2

In the morning we will drive to Nostell Priory (NT) for a private tour with house manager Sarah Crane. It is a compact house by James Paine and Robert Adam, with very ornate plasterwork and an extensive collection of Chippendale furniture. Chippendale is very much to the fore in 2018 as it is the 300th anniversary of his birth but there is technology for us to concentrate on too! There is a sprung bell system with good bell levers in state rooms but sadly many bell wires are missing because of a 1980s fire. We should see a further set of bells on the upper floor of the servants’ bedrooms, which are off the normal visitor route. There are converted Argand lamps to be seen and interesting boilers in the basement although these are not easy of access. The Old Kitchen has a variety of equipment; it is currently used as storeroom but we hope it is going to be cleared by the time of our visit. There is also a collection of John Harrison clocks and a special exhibition of these. Outside we can see a magnificent stable block with an Adam pavilion to the rear leading to the garden.

Lunch is available in the Courtyard café on site (own expense).

In the afternoon we will visit Brodsworth Hall (EH). The present house was the creation of Charles Sabine Augustus Thelluson after half a century of legal dispute over the will of the builder of the original house, Peter Thelluson. The family, originally Huguenots, purchased Brodsworth Estate in 1791 and constructed the house but on his death in 1797 Peter left a will whereby his fortune was managed by Trustees who allowed his estate to accumulate for 60 years. Charles, great-grandson of Peter, inherited in 1859 and tore down the existing house, building on a fresh site but re-using some windows, fireplaces etc from the old house. He died 1885, and the estate was inherited by each of his four sons in turn. They were childless and in 1931 the estate passed to great-grandson Charles Grant-Dalton. His widow Sylvia kept the estate going after Charles’ death in 1952. Daughter Pamela inherited in 1988 but she did not want to live there and the estate and house passed to English Heritage in 1990 and was opened to the public in 1995. Nearby coal mining affected the estate.

The ground floor windows are fitted with Snoxall patent roller shutters. Advertised in The Builder in 1845 and recently repaired, these are in excellent condition and are best seen in one of upper rooms. These were also seen on our South West tour at Tyntesfield in Somerset. There is an electric bell system by Belshaws and a recent project also gathered together many of the electrical items in the house including many fires. There are converted gasoliers, Ericsson telephones and Dent & Hellyer WCs. We hope it may be possible to see some of the work carried out by volunteers on the archives recording the installation of some of the technology.

At the end of the afternoon the coach will return to our Doncaster hotel.

After a group dinner in a private room the evening is at leisure.

Day 3

In the morning we will travel to the north of Leeds for a full day visit to Harewood House. Designed by architects John Carr and Robert Adam, it was built between 1759 and 1771 for wealthy plantation owner Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood, and extensively furnished with Chippendale furniture and so, as at Nostell Priory, this is being featured for the 300th anniversary of his birth. The landscape was designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and spans 1,000 acres. The house remained largely untouched until the 1840s when Sir Charles Barry was employed by the 3rd Earl of Harewood and his wife Louisa, who had thirteen children, to increase the accommodation. Barry added second storeys to each of the flanking wings to provide extra bedrooms, removed the south portico and created formal parterres and terraces – there is a magnificent view from the rear terrace. Harewood became a royal residence in the 1920s when the 6th Earl married HRH Princess Mary, the Princess Royal, and further alterations were made, particularly to the electricity in order to provide more lighting.

We begin with an introductory private tour of the state rooms, and then a visit to the magnificent below stairs areas designed both by Carr and Barry, which are unusually well lit and spacious. Gas lighting was used but electricity was installed in 1901 and again in the 1930s, when additional electrical bell boards were installed. An electricity cupboard displays various items of equipment. There is a good series of sprung bells in the Servants’ Hall - which appears to contradict all our expert guide’s previous assertions! The large kitchen boasts equipment provided by both Clement Jeakes and Benhams.

The Stable Block is some distance from the house with a tea room and an ice house to the rear, where the bird and pelican houses are now sited.

Lunch is available in the café on site (own expense).

In the afternoon we will drive over to our Georgian Country Hotel surrounded by gardens and meadows, just outside Beverley.

After dinner in a private room, Marilyn will talk on “Technical aspects of Country House Technology

Day 4

In the morning we will visit Burton Constable. This magnificent Elizabethan house is somewhat isolated to the east of Hull and little visited. It has a very complex building history, despite its outwardly uniform appearance. Part of the house is till occupied by the family. We will begin with a private tour led by the Curator Kelly Wainwright, followed by coffee and a private tour behind the scenes led by one of the volunteer guides, when we can appreciate just how complex the house really is. The house was at one time lit by gas and there are several surviving fittings in the house as well as many converted Argand oil lamps. There is an interesting lamp room which stored many lamp parts. Bell boards survive in the service area and many elaborate bell levers in the state rooms.

There is a magnificent Stable Block and Riding School, with the remains of a gas/electricity generating house nearby. Outside we can see the Orangery and hot walls of 1788 and the remains of a private brewery in one of the towers

Following a buffet lunch (included), we will spend the afternoon in the interesting nearby town of Beverley. Medieval Beverley was a wealthy town, and the Beverley Town Trail traces the sites of the 30 medieval guilds and trades, each located by appropriate sculptures. We also hope to have a guided tour of the magnificent Guildhall and a visit to the Minster, which has a famous series of misericords. There is also a pleasant walk along the Beverley Beck, which once connected with the navigable River Hull and enabled quite large ships to reach the town.

After dinner the evening is at leisure

Day 5

In the morning we will visit Burton Agnes, another magnificent Elizabethan house built c. 1600 by Sir Henry Griffiths to designs attributed to Robert Smythson. It has a wonderful main hall and Long Gallery now used for displays of art and sculpture. The house is still lived in by the Wickham Boynton family, currently headed by Simon Cunliffe-Lister. We will first have a tour led by Head Guide Pauline Waslin which will let us see the family’s rooms and how they have adapted a stately home for modern living. In the state rooms, bell levers survive from an earlier sprung bell system and there are a surprising number of night bolts for security – more than can still be seen in most stately homes. Bathrooms were not installed until the 1930s and then fitted into odd spaces!

Outside there is a surviving horse wheel in the courtyard behind the remains of the Norman manor house and there should be time to see the superb gardens – winner of the HHA Christie’s Garden Award 2015.

Lunch is available in the café on site (own expense).

After the visit the coach will return to Doncaster railway station by about 15:30 and then our hotel there where the tour ends.


Professor Marilyn Palmer MBE
Marilyn read History at St Anne’s College, Oxford, and then worked in teacher training before joining the History Department of the University of Loughborough and becoming its Head in 1983. She transferred to the University of Leicester becoming Head of the School of Archaeology and Britain’s first Professor of Industrial Archaeology. She is President of the Association for Industrial Archaeology and was a Commissioner with The Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England before its amalgamation with English Heritage. She serves on committees concerned with her discipline for The National Trust and the Council for British Archaeology and is the Subject Adviser for Archaeology for the University of the Third Age, for whom she runs study days as well as a large Archaeology Group. She was awarded an Award of Merit by the Society for Historical Archaeology of the USA in 2005 for her success in integrating industrial archaeology into mainstream archaeology and then an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June 2015 "for services to Industrial Archaeology and Heritage"


Our 4* hotel just outside Doncaster has Premier status within Best Western and is now one of only 100 properties worldwide to have gained this status and has won the Hotel of the Year at the prestigious White Rose Awards by ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’. All rooms are ensuite and offer free wi-fi.

Our 4* hotel near Beverley describes itself as “a Georgian Country Hotel surrounded by 4 acres of gardens and meadows on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds and a few miles from the coast. With fabulous food, twenty one glorious bedrooms and stylish spaces large and small it is suitable for every occasion”. All rooms are ensuite and free wi-fi is available throughout the hotel.


The tour starts at our hotel in Doncaster on the Monday evening and ends at that hotel after a drop off at the railway station in Doncaster by about 15:30 on the Friday afternoon.

Doncaster is well served by road, rail and air transport links from the rest of the UK. As we expect group members to come from many different locations we leave you to make your own travel arrangements to and from Doncaster to suit your own convenience and use of alternative departure points.

Travel during the tour will be by luxury, air-conditioned coach.

Detailed joining instructions will be supplied in good time.


The cost of the tour is £795 per person sharing, single supplement £100, with a discount of £10 per person for National Trust members (there is only one NT property on this tour, NT membership cards must be carried with you).

The single supplement reflects the additional charges made by the hotel for single occupancy.

In organising these very specialist and unique, small group, tours we do not enjoy the same economies of scale which are available to us for our larger group tours. Nevertheless we believe that the cost represents excellent value for money and compares very favourably with other specialist operators.

This includes:
  • An itinerary packed with visits to fascinating sites
  • 4 nights dinner, bed & breakfast
  • A light lunch on Day 4
  • Luxury air conditioned coach transport to all sites and driver tip
  • All entrance and special tour fees (amounting to about £80)
  • Uniquely qualified expert guiding and services of a tour manager throughout
  • Research for the visit
  • Professionally produced, comprehensive tour notes
Excluded are:
  • Lunches (except Day 4)
  • Drinks
  • Expenses at the hotels other than dinner, bed & breakfast
All costs are in Pounds Sterling (GBP) and are based on present accommodation, transport costs and taxes. Any change in these may necessitate a price change.


Please note that cancellation charges will apply from 9th April 2018, and, although these will be modified to the extent that costs are not actually incurred, you are strongly advised to insure against the need to cancel.

Non-UK residents also need to consider medical treatment and repatriation charges in the event of illness etc. Participants who do not have travel insurance must nevertheless accept full responsibility for these eventualities.


Bookings will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to space availability. Booking is subject to a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 20 people . Book as soon as possible and by 9th April 2018 to ensure a place but please feel free to enquire after that date if a place is still available. We will contact you as soon as possible to confirm the booking and to issue an invoice for the balance of the price.

A non-refundable deposit of £80 per person is required on booking. Bookings can be made definite only when the booking details and deposit are received and accepted in writing/email by Heritage of Industry Ltd. The company's standard terms and conditions apply. The balance of the price is to be paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd on presentation of the invoice. All monies paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd will be held, in accordance with government regulations**, in a customer protection account until the tour is complete so that your money is safe no matter what happens.

If you wish to take advantage of our special offer of a copy of Marilyn and Ian's book "Technology in the Country House" tick the box on the booking form and include the additional cost of £30.00 with the

Books will be dispatched as soon as possible after booking. Note that if for any reason we are unable to run the tour then your deposit will be returned to you as normal but you may keep your copy of the book.

This tour is now fully booked

Enquiries about this tour should be directed to:

Bill Barksfield
Managing Director
Heritage of Industry Ltd, The Gables, 20 Main Road, East Hagbourne, Oxon OX11 9LN UK
Tel: +44 1235 352275  (9am - 5.30pm GMT)
Email: bill@heritageofindustry.co.uk

** The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (SI 1992 No. 3288)