Introducing this website

updated January 2024

Who we are

This site showcases excerpts from interviews with people remembering working at or visiting Knole. They include descendants of Knole Estate employees, with stories from as early as 1880. This archive of memories is now the largest such oral history archive within the National Trust. Our interviews are also part of the National Sound Archive at the British Library in London.

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. Their voices bring to life anecdotes from the years before the 1946 handing over of Knole to the Trust.

Alongside the audio excerpts, 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. As a result of a 2023 cyber-attack, the BL’s online catalogue may not be fully operational. However, when all the BL online services return to normal, you’ll be able to read each interview’s timed content summary and reserve the recording for playback at the British Library in London.¬†


In 2011, the Heritage Lottery Fund supported the initial two years of research and interviewing by a team of volunteers. Our small team of volunteers continues to build this archive of more than 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, within the National Trust.


If you have a memory of Knole you’d like to share with us, or find out more about the Knole Oral History archive, please email us at


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

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