Monday, 21 February 2011

New baby at the Castle

The staff at Berkeley Castle were delighted to hear that Castle Director and heir to the Castle, Charles Berkeley and his wife Daisy have recently become proud parents of Mary Beatrice.
Mary arrived in the afternoon of Wednesday 12th January, weighing just 6lb 1oz at Southmead Hospital, North Bristol. 
Charles said;
“Daisy wasn’t due until the end of the month so it was a bit of surprise when she went into labour! However both mother and baby are now back at home and are doing well.”

Charles and Daisy married in October 2009, and have been living in Berkeley where Daisy has developed her own Professional Equestrian Event Yard.
Daisy had a very successful year in 2010, claiming 3rd place on Spring Along at the Mistubishi Badminton Horse Trials in April. Also on Spring Along in August, she took the British Open Eventing Title at Gatcombe Park, which was her last competition before taking maternity leave.
Charles’ parents John & Gina Berkeley are delighted with Mary’s arrival, and are looking forward to taking her around the Castle once all the re-wiring and re-plumbing works have been completed. Mary is their third grandchild, as their other son, Henry and wife Kate already have two children, Violet (2½) and Wilfred (10months).

Trade Your Way to the USA

A new children's television series "Trade Your Way to the USA" has featured
Berkeley Castle on CBBC.

The series started last week searching for the best young traders in
Britain, fronted by Saira Khan. Two teams compete in a trade challenge
each week, with the winners in with a chance of competing in the grand
New York final.

The episode filmed at Berkeley Castle searches for the best young
traders in Britain, with two teams competing in a Medieval-themed
challenge. Other themes used in the programme are flowers, fruit, cakes
and souvenirs.

The episode was filmed last summer during the medieval weekend, the
Berkeley Skirmish, held in the Castle Meadow adjacent to the Castle. The
BBC used the Skirmish event and the Castle as the medieval backdrop to
the programme.

Chris Bruce of Plantagenet Events, organiser of the Berkeley Skirmish,
arranged for the BBC to film at the event last year:
"Berkeley Castle is the perfect location for the Skirmish, and creates a
wonderful medieval setting, which is what attracted the BBC to use both
the Castle and the event for the programme. The two competing teams were
great fun to work with and visitors to the Skirmish were fascinated by
what they were trying to achieve."

For further information about Trade Your Way to the USA, visit the BBC website

The Berkeley Skirmish will be taking place this year on Saturday 30th &
Sunday 31st July 2011. For further details please visit the Berkeley Skirmish website

For further details about Berkeley Castle, please contact the Castle
Office on 01453 810332, email, or visit the website

Berkeley Castle closes for re-wiring

As usual, in November, Berkeley Castle will close its doors to visitors for the Winter, but this year is different, as rather than planning winter weddings and Christmas events, the Castle will only be open for one weekend between November 2010 and April 2011.

This is because the Castle is undergoing some works to replace the 1920’s plumbing and electrical systems. The services installation project team started work in the private apartments of the Castle, where Mr & Mrs Berkeley reside, in June and are now reaching completion of these areas.
After the Castle closes to the public at the end of October, the contractors will be moving into the public rooms.
General Manager, Vicky Parr said:

“This winter will be a complete upheaval at the Castle. We are unable to hold our usual events due to the extent of the works being undertaken, and the main office is moving temporarily out of the Castle during the works to the gift shop building.

We do have three events in the Castle during one weekend in December, including the English String Orchestra’s Christmas concert on 12th December, when everything will be back to normal. Apart from that we won’t have any events here until April 2011.”
The existing plumbing and electrical installation were instigated by the 8th Earl in the 1920’s and much of the original cabling and pipework still remains, unfortunately it is no longer compliant with current legislation.
Work to the private apartments has being taking place whilst the public rooms have been open during the Summer, which has been interesting for visitors as they have seen contractors moving about the Castle.
Castle Director, Charles Berkeley said:

“The extent of the project has been enormous, and the team have faced many challenges. Pipe routes have been difficult to identify as they have been buried in concrete, and contemporary legislation has meant that some major changes have been made to how the electrics and plumbing systems now work, compared to the systems installed in the 1920’s. However, wherever possible we have tried to retain the original fittings including the radiators and light fittings. Most originate from the 1920’s and are therefore, when compared to the age of the Castle, relatively modern!”
The public side of the Castle will be completed in time for the start of next season in April 2011, however most of the work will probably go unnoticed by visitors. The one new addition will be the creation of new Ladies and Gentleman’s toilet facilities within the Castle for special events. These facilities have been long awaited, and it is hoped that it will encourage even more couples to choose Berkeley castle as their wedding venue.
Events Manager, David Bowd-Exworth said:

“Having cloakrooms next to the function rooms will make a huge difference to our guests, not to mention a modern heating system. Couples love the fact that we can light the fires in the Great Hall and the Long Drawing Room, but it’s not always possible to keep them lit throughout the event, and that’s where the central heating system has always been very useful, although quite unusual in a building of this age. The additional electric sockets will also make life a lot easier for the caterers and visiting bands, who have sometimes struggled with limited access to a power supply!”
For more information about the Castle and when it re-opens in 2011, contact the Castle office on 01453 810332, e-mail or visit

Jools Pays a Visit

Renowned musician and TV presenter Jools Holland made an unexpected pit stop at Berkeley Castle yesterday (Thurs 15th July).

On his way from the Larmar Tree Festival he stopped off in Berkeley en-route to Liverpool for the Summer Pops concert.
Jools performed to a sell-out crowd on the Castle Meadow in 2006, but didn’t get a chance to go around the Castle on that occasion. Jools has an interest in medieval architecture, and always promised himself that one-day he would return to the Castle for a proper visit.
Jools joined one of the guided tours and enjoyed a trip around the Castle and was happy to pose for photos at the Piano in the Great Hall.

The Legend of Dick and Dom comes to Berkeley Castle

Children’s BBC have been filming at the historic location of Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire for series two and three of the popular children’s TV programme – The Legend of Dick and Dom.

Invading the impressive mediaeval walls of Berkeley Castle, the BBC crew will be filming until Friday 2nd October. 
The Legend of Dick and Dom is a mediaeval period comedy shown on BBC1 and CBBC, featuring Brian Blessed as the King. 
Dick (Richard McCourt) and Dom (Dominic Wood) are two useless young princes who have accidentally destroyed the only cure to a ghastly plague rampaging through their kingdom of Fyredor.  The series follows the young princes on their quest to recapture the vital ingredients to the magical cure that will save their people. They are accompanied by their servants Lutin (Chloe Bale), who is an escaped thief, and Mannitol (Steve Furst), a hopelessly inept wizard.  
The location manager, David Colenutt, scoured England for the perfect setting for the new series and chose the unique site of Berkeley Castle due to its untouched mediaeval charm. David said:
“I knew the castle would be the best location for us. It has captured our imagination with its endless possibilities.”
The castle’s Inner Bailey has become a spectacular mediaeval market place, decorated with huts and traders’ stalls. Fruit and vegetables are temptingly displayed, and rabbits and pheasants hang from beams, but Dick and Dom have to find out whether the secret ingredients to the cure are also there.  For the fortnight of filming, the Great Hall has been transformed into the Royal Palace, where two enormous golden thrones dominate the set and other parts of the castle have become cellars, staircases and dank dungeons. 
On arrival Dom exclaimed “The courtyard is just like a movie set – it took my breath away.”  Berkeley Castle plays a vital role in filming for the next two series and brings to life the magical mediaeval world of The Legend of Dick and Dom.
Series one of The Legend of Dick and Dom has recently been shown, however series two will be aired at 4.30pm on BBC1 from Friday 26th February 2010 and series three will be shown later in 2010.




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