A new exhibition is to open at Lamport Hall all about working horses.
The Bryan Holden Working Horse Collection has been donated to Lamport Hall by a lifelong heavy horse enthusiast and will be unveiled on May 14.
The exhibition is a chance to learn about the lives of ‘Charlie’ the last railway horse and ‘Robin’ the pit pony along with examples of their working harness including horse brasses, horsehoe patterns, saddlery and a host of emphemera.
Lamport Hall has set aside part of its Edwardian stable block to house the collection of horse-related memorabilia which also includes an array of antiquarian vets’ equipment and farriers’ tools.
Bryan Holden from Solihull, who amassed the collection said: “In my childhood cart horses and van horses were still everyday sights, in our towns and cities. Most door-to-door deliveries were made by horse-drawn vehicles. Horses were also the mainstay on our farms, and I have very happy memories of sitting on a horse and cart when I helped with the harvest on one Warwickshire farm in the summer of 1939, just as the war broke out. Horses were vital too on the canals, at hundreds of collieries and in railway shunting yards.
“The coming of the motor lorry and the farm tractor changed everything, and by the 1950s the end of the working horse was in sight. Now they are just a distant memory and the debt that previous generations owed to the working horse deserves to be remembered while there are still a few people of my generation around with our first-hand memories.
“I am delighted that my collection has found a permanent home at Lamport Hall, where it is now on display in a splendid Edwardian saddle room and can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages”.
Bryan’s collection is accompanied by interpretation panels that he has written and designed. In other parts of the stables visitors can see interpretation panels about the many other uses to which horses have been put down the centuries, from hunting to racing, as well as the vital role that horses played in the two world wars. These panels have been created by students from the University of Leicester in conjunction with staff at Lamport Hall.
Lamport Trust’s Executive Director George Drye said: “We are extremely grateful to Bryan Holden for his generosity in donating his collection – the result of a lifetime’s passion – to Lamport Hall, where it can now be enjoyed by our many visitors. And there can be few more appropriate places for it to be housed than in our fine Edwardian stables”.
Lamport Hall is open to the public every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon between Easter and mid-October, as well as Bank Holiday Sundays and Mondays. The new Working Horse exhibition will be a key attraction at the Lamport Festival of Country life on May 24 and 25