Introducing this website

updated December 2020

This site showcases excerpts from interviews of people who have memories of working at or visiting Knole. They include descendants of Knole Estate employees, with stories from as early as 1880. This archive of people’s memories is now the largest such oral history archive within the National Trust.

Our archive also includes audio recordings from 1988-97, e.g. Lord Sackville’s butler of 40 years, William Hughes, and Head Guide, Barbara Tate, who worked at Knole for 50 years. These bring to life anecdotes from the years before the 1946 handing over of Knole to the Trust.

Alongside the audio excerpts from our interviews, you can read their transcripts as well. If you are keen to hear the entire interview, you’re invited to search the British Library’s online catalogue, using ‘Knole’ as one of your search keywords. You can then read each interview’s timed content summary and reserve the recording for playback at the British Library in London.

TheĀ Heritage Lottery FundĀ supported the initial two years of research and interviewing by a team of volunteers. Volunteers continue to build this archive of about 250 interviews, as a material legacy of the Inspired by Knole Project, which started in 2013 and was completed in 2019. You can hear the voices of key staff, volunteers, consultants, conservators and contractors involved in the biggest such conservation project at the time, on a National Trust property.

If you have a memory of Knole which you’d like to share with us, or find out more about the Knole Oral History archive during the current coronavirus situation in the UK, please contact us at


This page was added by Veronica Walker-Smith on 12/07/2012.

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