Resources: Work and Play

Launched in 2007 with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Work & Play was the third collaborative exhibition project of the Yorkshire Country House Partnership. Telling the story of the country house estate from a human perspective, four participating houses explored the inter-dependent roles and relationships of landowners, their estate staff and tenants for whom the estate provided a setting for leisure pursuits and a source of livelihood respectively.

Through series of linked exhibitions, trails and events, the houses examined the changing use and appearance of their surrounding landscapes from their creation to the present day, exploring the influences of agriculture, industry, leisure, philanthropy and war on the estate and its inhabitants.

Drawing on a remarkable range of architectural and archaeological evidence, archival sources and oral histories, the exhibitions highlighted elements of both continuity and change over time and brought vividly to life the aspirations and experiences of those who owned, lived and worked on these (rural) estates.