drawingsThere’s a rare opportunity to see behind the scenes of North Yorkshire’s County Record Office and discover the amazing historic records within at the Archives at Dusk event on Thursday, 12 May.

This is the sixth year that the County Record Office, in Malpas Road, Northallerton, has hosted an open evening as part of the national Museums at Night festival, which aims to inspire new visitors to discover the fascinating heritage on their doorstep.

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, Executive Member for Archives, said: “Archives at Dusk is a creative event and a highlight of the Record Office year, a light-hearted, interactive evening.

“This year we’ll be exploring North Yorkshire’s historic homes and gardens, large and small. From castles to cottages, we’ll be searching through our archives, photographs, plans and maps to bring you a show of Yorkshire homes and gardens to inspire and delight.

“To bring the archives to life, we’re inviting friends from throughout the county with connections to the archival collections. Dark Star Plants and Helmsley Walled Garden, both of whom garden within historic walled gardens, will be bringing unusual plants for sale giving us the opportunity to show plans and documents illustrating the estates heydays.”

As 2016 is the year of the garden and celebrating Capability Brown’s 300th anniversary, it’s the perfect excuse to show the exquisite plan of Howsham Hall, hand drawn and coloured on parchment dating from 1718.

Whatever the income bracket, the urge to redecorate is strong, and interior design will be illustrated by the changing tastes and fortunes of the houses of North Yorkshire. To demonstrate high-end, hand-finished craftsmanship, Steven Oxley, a master craftsman specialising in decorative paint finishes, will run two free workshops on marbling and wood graining and will discuss the application and future of the decorative arts.

The Dales Countryside Museum will show a selection of kitchenalia to bring the “below stairs” display of rules for the servants and household management to life. Also in the servant’s hall, George Caley’s long-suffering manservant will tell how he tested his master’s flying machines. Adlard and Elizabeth Cage are brought to life through the reading of their domestic correspondence found in the Norton Conyers archive, discussing household management and garden design from the late seventeenth century.

Visitors can discover records of the lost houses of Yorkshire, including Thirkleby, Rounton and Wood End at Thornton le Street.

Films from the Yorkshire Film archive will illustrate solutions to the post-war housing crisis, with the introduction of the Airey House and a revolution for the housewife with the introduction of the fitted kitchen.

The experiences of people without a home will be shown through the records of the Quarter Sessions, which throw light on vagrancy and destitution and life for the homeless.

Archives at Dusk will take place between 6pm and 8.30pm on Thursday, 12 May. Admission is free and includes light refreshments. Booking is not necessary and free parking is available on site and nearby.

For further information, visit the website, www.northyorks.gov.uk/archivesevents, or call 01609 777585. Keep up to date with County Record Office news on Twitter, @nyccarchives.