Raby

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When High Force Hotel reopens on Monday 17th May, guests will notice a stylish new look in the bar and communal areas, bringing the interiors in line with the beautiful restoration of the Garden Room restaurant and function room, which was unveiled last year.

The bar refurbishment is the final phase of work, which began with the redecoration of the original bedrooms and saw the creation of additional rooms. The hotel now has 11 individually designed en-suite bedrooms, offering luxurious guest accommodation.

The tiles that have been added to the bar at the High Force Hotel came from the Fish Yard at Raby Castle. Built in the 18th century, in 1971 an architectural report on the castle noted that the stone walls and windows of the fish yard had become unsafe and were likely to collapse. The Fish Yard was carefully demolished in 1975/76 and the tiles and decorative stone should be kept for future use.

Raby Castle, 1971 – the low curved fish yard can be seen behind the outer wall, between two towers.

The fish yard was a small, enclosed yard close to the kitchens of the castle and part of a range of working spaces which included larders and cook’s pantry. The high quality glazed tiles came from the Cook’s Pantry  – and not only marked the Cook’s status as an important member of the household staff, but also were a practical  addition – easy to wipe down and keep clean.

The blue and white glazed floral tiles date from the 18th century and are English delftware.  They may have been already salvaged and reused before adding them to the Cook’s Pantry. The tiles sat between picture panels, including the image of a woman wearing a crown and holding a sceptre, next to a peacock (below).

Tiles in situ in the Cook’s Pantry at Raby Castle, c. 1970

Almost 50 years later, some of the tiles have been given a new lease of life both at Raby Castle and in the recent renovations to the bar at the High Force Hotel.

Freshly grouted tiles set into the bar at High Force Hotel, March 2021.

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