Kiplin Hall and Gardens has closed its doors (and gates) as planned at the end of our 2020 season on Sunday 1st November. It has been a year like no other. The spring lockdown resulted 10 weeks of closure, with the gardens reopening in June, followed by the hall in July. A phased reopening plan has seen us creep our way back up to opening 6 days a week.
We did our best to keep spirits high and show our gratitude to key workers, giving away over 200 free tickets to key workers, and restructuring our pricing to add value and create opportunities to return at no extra cost. Pizza picnics and a need to stay local has seen our audience shift more towards young families and local residents. Kiplin has become less of a secret and more a destination on your doorstep, providing a tonic during difficult times.
Although our overall financial situation has been damaged by the pandemic, we have been delighted to report record breaking visitor figures in August, September, and October. During October half term we welcomed the most visitors we’ve ever had in one day. Only to break that record the next day! While still allowing for social distancing and effective COVID secure procedures.
On behalf of the whole team, Director, James Etherington expresses his gratitude. “Thank you to all of the visitors who have joined us in 2020. Thank you for being so sensible and respectful of our procedures as we found our way through the guidance and restrictions. Kiplin relies on ticket income to operate and to preserve the rich history of the hall, grounds, and families who lived here. Your contributions will make it possible to continue our work. I also thank our team of Volunteers, Trustees, and Staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure our survival and success over a difficult year. I would especially like to thank staff who have been furloughed. Working with such a passionate and dedicated team, I know it’s so hard to step back, it is a sacrifice that is difficult to endure.”
Kiplin Hall and Gardens employs 20 people in total, and over 160 volunteers. During 2020 we have welcomed 16,116 visitors. Many of who have come from very nearby towns and villages.
Although closed during November, December and January staff and volunteers will still be busy behind the scenes. We will be cleaning, creating new exhibitions, planning events and researching our collections. Some work will take place on site and some at home. We will be keeping in touch with each other with newsletters and the like, keeping spirits light during the darker months. All ready to emerge with the snow drops as spring blooms in February. You can follow our progress on our blog and social media, and join our mailing list to keep up to date with all of the goings on once we reopen.
For 2021 we look forward, with hope, to opening a new exhibition exploring the large collection of Victorian kitchenalia from antique dealer Annie Marchant. As well as the curious objects we will explore how and why collections are formed, what motivates people and museums to preserve the past and the stories it holds.
If you are able to support Kiplin even more you may wish to join our sister charity as a ‘Friend of Kiplin’. You can find our more online at https://kiplinhall.co.uk/friends-of-kiplin/
“Thank you to all our visitors who have been able to support us this year. We hope that Kiplin provided you will a place of safety and escape from the realities of a difficult year. This experience highlights just how important places like Kiplin are, especially our outdoor spaces. The fresh air, beautiful plants, healthy produce, and rolling landscape that surrounds Kiplin are treasured and valued by us all. And at their heart, the historic house with its homely charm providing stories of comfort and adventure – long may they be told!” Chair of Trustees, Lindsay Osorio
During the winter you can also find online resources about Kiplin on the homepage of the website, including video talks, touch screen tours and family tree research.
All the best from everyone at Kiplin, stay safe, and take care this winter.