In most great houses the kitchens are ample in size but strictly utilitarian in character, with simple plastered walls and few architectural features. In contrast, the kitchens at Harewood were created by a patron who demanded the highest standards, an architect, in John Carr of York, who really knew how to use stone, and a highly-skilled workforce. The result is a kitchen of exceptional quality with walls, skirtings and door surrounds of beautifully cut masonry, and a great vaulted roof shaped like the ceiling of the Sistine chapel.
The kitchen was restored in 1996 so that it could be opened to the public as a first glimpse of the practical workings of this great house. All the accumulated layers of whitewash were stripped to reveal the original painted finishes of 1774. Cupboards were removed to show the charcoal stove and the whole of the copper-ware was brought out of store, catalogued, cleaned and returned to its original shelves.
Look out for educational workshops, tastings and cookery demonstrations in the Old Kitchen during school holidays and on event days. You can visit the What's On pages for more information on upcoming event days at Harewood as well as Great Yorkshire Food weekends in Below Stairs.