Discovery of the week – 1919 Newspaper and cigarette box

This week while working on the floorboards in the Hague bedroom, Callum, our apprentice joiner discovered a newspaper dating back to 1919 and a cigarette box.

Our project joiner, Callum discovering the newspaper dating back to 1919 (c) Peter Muhly

The cigarette box dates more than likely to 1919 as it was found alongside the Ulster Examiner newspaper dated 23 August 1919. Various news headings in the newspaper were, ‘Excursionists Stoned – Attacks at Newry, Banbridge, Dromore and Lisburn’ and ‘German Reconstruction Legislation for carrying out peace treaty – Big Economic effort’

A close-up of the Ulster Examiner, dating back to August 1919 (c) Peter Muhly

The cigarettes are a pack of 20 Gold Flake honeydew made by W D & H O Wills. They were founded in 1786 and became part of Imperial Tobacco in 1901 which remains one as of the largest tobacco manufacturers.

The Gold Flake cigarettes box which was also found under the floorboards (c) Peter Muhly


Rolls Royce of Heating Exhibition

Rolls Royce of Heating exhibition – This Sunday 17th at Mount Stewart

One of the house and collections team will be in the house to show you examples of historic heating systems from the early 20th century, including air duct and chimney heating, right through to our new technology. They’ll also be discussing how we heat Mount Stewart today.

Exhibition will be on Sunday 17th June during our Vehicles of Yesteryear event, be sure to stop by and say hello! We’ll be in the Central Hall while the house is open from 12pm-5pm.



Introduction to our Project Conservator – Fiona

Fiona Austin-Byrne – Project Conservator

As Project Conservator I am responsible for the packing, protection and storage of the historic collection at Mount Stewart. I work closely with the joiners, house staff, family members and specialist engineers and conservators to make this happen as efficiently and professionally as possible, following best practices in conservation, whilst offering access for an enjoyable visitor experience.

Fiona Austin-Byrne (Project Conservator), preparing to meet and greet the public at the Garden & Craft Fair

We hope to improve environmental conditions, display techniques and conserve or replace items to lift the presentation of all rooms.

By the end of the project we will be able to open several more rooms all over the house.

I’m actively seeking volunteers to help me with the following tasks:

  • Moving and packing furniture and objects
  • Making bespoke in-situ protection for fixtures or large items
  • Conservation cleaning and writing condition reports for objects
  • Cataloguing objects (IT skills desirable)
  • Making individual furniture dust covers (basic dressmaking skills essential)

Full training and supervision provided and travel expenses paid.

It would be a great opportunity for students or graduates looking for experience working in the heritage sector or those who would just like to be involved with the work of the National Trust during the project and beyond.

Please contact me to arrange an initial visit and chat.