Happy 400th to Hatfield House

PUBLISHED: 12:14 31 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:13 20 February 2013

Fireworks over Hatfield House by John Crouch, Stevenage Photographic Society

Fireworks over Hatfield House by John Crouch, Stevenage Photographic Society

Fireworks, sculpture, Sir Elton John, a country show and a programme of improvements – it's been quite a year for this historic Hertfordshire estate

A MASSIVE fireworks display marked the culmination of a year of activities to mark the 400th anniversary of Hatfield House.

More than 10,000 people headed for the historic estate to see the building lit up and withthe dates 1611 and 2011 projected onto its walls.

Visitors brought chairs and picnics and settled in to enjoy the build up to the fabulous display put on by Fantastic Fireworks. The 30-minute show saw fireworks explode over the house accompanied by live music from The Sixteen.

Nick Moorhouse, Hatfield House business development director said, What a night! We had the largest fireworks display of the year here. Lord & Lady Salisbury were delighted to welcome more than 10,000 people, predominantly from the local community, to the private south side of Hatfield Park to witness an incredible display which saw almost 15,000 fireworks fired from behind, in front of, across, and off the roof of Hatfield House.

The display was accompanied by live music from The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers who performed Handels Arrival of the Queen of Sheba and Music for the Royal Fireworks, and was the culmination of many activities at the House to celebrate its 400th birthday.

We would like to say thank you for the numerous messages from spectators congratulating us on a fantastic event.

This display replaced the traditional November event which, due to popular demand, will return in 2012.

What a year

The fireworks helped bring a year of activity to a close which included, most notably, a huge outdoor exhibition of the work of sculptor Henry Moore.

The exhibition, the largest of the artists work ever held at an English historic house, featured 15 iconic and monumental sculptures,located within the west garden and woodland garden from the collection of The Henry Moore Foundation, at Perry Green, with sculptures taking over the garden from April through to September.

Moore at Hatfield presented a unique opportunity to explore Moores intentions, and witness how the ever-changing landscape both inspires and combines with the beauty of his radical new forms.

A Magic event

In July the estate welcomed Sir Elton John as the entertainer headlined at new annual music event Magic Summer Live.

Joining Elton on the bill was singer Rumer, duo The Pierces, girl band Wonderland, nostalgic boy group The Overtones and the acclaimed Lighthouse Family.

More than 20,000 people spent an afternoon and evening at the event, braving downpours to enjoy not just the bands but also live West End music on a second stage and fairground rides.

In the country

In August the annual country show took place with a new name and a new look. The Hatfield Country Show took place from August 19 to 21, welcoming Miss Hertfordshire Sophie Chryssaphes to do the opening honours and sports personality Matt Dawson who brought with him TVs Monster Munchies for the giant Cottage Pie Challenge. Visitors flocked to enjoy a wealth of country events including gun dog and hawking displays, dog agility, polo displays as well as rare breeds on show and a a large number of craft and trade stalls.

And theres more

Other exhibitions have been held during the year to mark the anniversary, including the Quartercentenary exhibition, which included Robert Cecils copy of the King James Bible and other fascinating documents are on public display for the first time.

The year also saw the introduction of a spectacular sundial, The Longitude Dial, in the Garden; the launch of the new Lady Salisbury rose at the Chelsea Flower Show and the opening of a traditional breeds farm, Hatfield Park Farm, adjacent to the new adventure playground, Bloody Hollow, featuring a 2.5 metre high model of Hatfield House.

This year has also seen Stable yard become a retail attraction unto itself at Hatfield House with shops selling antiques, gifts, local crafts and books and much more.

Activities in the newly refurbished area and restaurant have included buskers, face painting and craft days.

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