Hardwick Hall

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Hardwick Hall (Derbys.), west of Mansfield, was the creation of the celebrated Bess of Hardwick, countess of Shrewsbury, four times married, who stamped her initials on walls and on parterres. It has a magnificent position on cliffs overlooking the valley of the river Doe Lee, through which snakes the busy M1. It is one of the grandest of Elizabethan houses, with a vast expanse of window glass. In front of the building is the Old Hall which, though in ruins, has surprisingly been allowed to remain. One of the most impressive rooms is the long gallery, used for recreation and for exhibiting family portraits and purchases, and a remarkable innovation was that the architect, Robert Smythson, turned the hall 90 degrees, so that it runs from front to back.

J. A. Cannon