The National Trust Stourhead: Harry’s Story design interpretation

Harry's Story—a tale of family and devotion, peace and war, privilege and loss—is in its fourth and final year at Stourhead in Wiltshire. Developing the interpretation for this National Trust property, a magnificent country estate steeped in history, has been one of our favourite design projects of the past few years.

When Stourhead was inherited by Sir Henry Hoare, who moved there with his wife Alda and their young son Harry—only child and would-be heir—at the end of the 19th Century, the house and garden were neglected, dishevelled and overgrown. The Hoare family dedicated themselves to restoring and maintaining their beloved Stourhead throughout the Edwardian period and the First World War; when Harry signed up to join the Dorset Yeomanry, whilst Harry's parents opened the estate up for recuperating soldiers from the nearby Red Cross Hospital at Mere.

We wouldn't want to spoil it for you, so for now we'll leave the rest of Harry's story untold. Stourhead is well worth a visit, where you can retrace Harry's footsteps through the grand galleries of the house and the world-famous gardens; where objects and places key to the story are highlighted by trail markers stamped with 'Harry's seal', such as the Gothic Cottage—Alda's favourite place for reflection—and Harry's favourite tree. The interpretation incorporates fascinating family relics—including old photographs and snippets from Alda's diaries—alongside our boldly illustrated information panels, fact cards, hands-on displays and even a giant book.

It has been a real pleasure to work with Stourhead on Harry's Story; and we're excited about our ongoing collaboration with the National Trust, as well as developing new projects with them. Watch this space for future design interpretations... !