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Tue 16th May 2017
Historic garden tools at Norton Conyers, Yorkshire.

Norton Conyers in Yorkshire is now home to a fantastic new exhibition of historic garden tools.

Robert Addyman, a local gentleman, has collected this wide range of tools over many years and now has over 4000.

These are long-forgotten tools from a lost world of Yorkshire kitchen gardening, an age in which growers and seedsmen had an implement for every task, including one to cut the legs off poachers.

Most were discarded generations ago, but this remarkable collection, gathered from boot sales and auctions around the country, sheds new light on the lost art of growing produce in the grounds of the country houses of the three ridings.

Robert's hoard dates back to the 1760s, an age in which even pineapples and bananas took root in coal-heated greenhouses within vast walled gardens.

"You had to grow your own food and if you didn't grow it, you didn't eat" said Mr Addyman.

Kitchen gardens were common at large country homes and small rectories and the kitchen gardener's kit was as varied as it was vast. Hand-held implements included a fork for cultivating each crop - 6in tines on the strawberry fork and two prongs on the parsnip picker - and another for straightening cucumbers. Mr Addyman's collection also includes a riveted, leather hosepipe and a 5ft hedge cutter that it took two men to operate. For unwelcome visitors, there are mole traps, double-headed mouse traps, and worse.

The House will be open: 27 April - 1 May, 13-16 & 25-29 May, 9-13; 20-23 July, 24-28 August, from 2pm to 5pm. Last admissions to the house 4.30pm.

Find out more on their website.