Art & Culture, Exhibition

If Walls Could Talk: The Forgotten Story of Ann Fairfax House

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The Honourable Ann Fairfax was a truly remarkable woman: resilient, compassionate and devout.

Yet history has not been kind to her. The story of her life has been dismissed as insignificant because of her gender, her status as a 'mere spinster' and assumptions of her incompetence based on her mental health. Drawing on new research and rich archival documents, this exhibition turns Ann Fairfax from much-maligned spinster into one of the richest heiress in Yorkshire in the eighteenth century, as she deserves to be remembered.

As you journey though Fairfax House’s historic interiors you'll discover those played an influential role, for good and bad, in Ann’s life. People like Nathaniel Pigott, her cousin, who prayed on Ann and manipulated her into signing away control of her estates, or Father Bolton, who valiantly sought to protect Ann and yet was spitefully punished by her detractors with imprisonment and a charge of treason.

This true story of Ann Fairfax is brought to life using audio-visual techniques and innovative new interpretation that will bring you face to face with Ann and her foes. The exhibition raises important questions about the treatment of women in history and how their contributions have been overlooked. It is an exciting readjustment of the traditional narrative of Fairfax House and highlights the ways in which Ann Fairfax has been mistreated, manipulated and misunderstood both in her lifetime and by historians since.

Uncover the world in which Ann inhabited: a world where being a single woman was seen as a curse, where displays of emotion were deemed irrational, and where being an heiress in charge of her own estates was seen as an impossibility.

You can read more about the exhibition on our website by clicking here. Walk-ins are welcome, but pre-booking is recommended to avoid disappointment - click here to book.

Tickets cost £7.50 and last a whole year, and children under 16 go free. Fairfax House is open 11am-4pm (last entry 3:30pm) every day except Friday, when the house is open for pre-bookable guided tours.

Fairfax House Opening Hours

Monday - 11:00-16:00

Tuesday - 11:00-16:00

Wednesday - 11:00-16:00

Thursday - 11:00-16:00

Friday - open for guided tours at 11:00 and 14:00

Saturday - 11:00-16:00

Sunday 11:00-16:00

Last admission 15:30.

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