Chatsworth is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. It is a family home, a working farm and a living landscape.
The house is renowned for the quality of its art and landscape, containing works of art that span 4,000 years, from Ancient Roman and Egyptian sculpture, and masterpieces by Rembrandt, Reynolds and Veronese, to work by outstanding modern artists, including Lucian Freud, Edmund de Waal and David Nash.
Download the Joseph Paxton / Chatsworth Timeline (4MB pdf)
Challenges of putting on the show
‘There are many challenges of putting on a new show but the biggest challenge is the unknown quantity of the site itself,' says Liz Patterson, Show Manager. 'The site for RHS Chatsworth Flower Show has a high level of archaeological interest throughout, which requires us to go through a rigorous planning process. So there are limitations on what we can to do in certain areas in order to protect the site. This has been quite challenging at times but it’s an exciting journey of discovery and a beautiful place to work.’
Liz added that as the site is such an historic one, we had to undertake extensive research into the underlying archaeology. This included carrying out geophysical and resistivity surveys, test pits and trench excavations to help us avoid areas of particular sensitivity. This is also why the Show Gardens have been allocated an area in the southeast corner of the show site, which is an area of previously disturbed ground. We also had to take into account an extensive network of drainage pipes and stone culverts – some redundant, some of them live – that run through the site. We enlisted the expert help of a team of two archaeologists, who monitored any excavations carried out during show build up.
We always have to take into account any impact we might have on local wildlife, so the RHS commissioned an independent specialist company to carry out an ecology appraisal survey report of the show site. They advised us on special measures to protect and minimise impact on wildlife on and around the show site.
The River Derwent is 60m at its widest in the show site. Our biggest challenge was how we could span such a distance while complying with the environmental conditions considering flood risk and minimal impact to the ecology of the river - no easy feat!
We continuously monitor the effects of the event both pre- and post-show.