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Blenheim Palace is launching a series of podcasts on Spotify. With topics ranging from hidden rooms inside Blenheim's iconic grand bridge and the Palace's starring roles in a series of blockbuster movies to fashion and Winston Churchill, the 20-part series provides a fascinating insight into the Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hosted by Blenheim's social historian Antonia Keaney, the series also features interviews with comedian and TV presenter Sue Perkins, writer and broadcaster Hugo Vickers and author Josh Ireland.
As well as the stories about the Palace's rich heritage and a cast of famous historical characters, Antonia also talks to current members of the team including Blenheim archivist Alexa Frost, head of operations Heather Carter, who describes the challenges and rewards of running a great estate, and award-winning travel photographer Pete Seaward. "We began providing online talks and virtual tours during lockdown as a way for us to stay in touch with people who couldn't visit in person," said Antonia. "I was surprised and delighted with the positive feedback and so we decided to expand our offering and produce a series of podcasts. It has been lovely for me to be able to talk to such a diverse group of fascinating people who each have their own unique connection to Blenheim and I hope others will enjoy the fascinating insights and stories their interviews reveal."
The series also features British journalist and politician Rachel Trethewey talking about her books on the children of Winston Churchill, Blenheim's most famous son, an interview with historic textiles conservator Emma Telford on her work with the Palace's priceless 300-year-old tapestries and an insight into what life was really like 'below stairs' at a great estate. All the podcasts are available to download on Spotify.
In other news, the team at Blenheim Palace is looking to recruit a new head gardener – the first time the role has become vacant in 40 years. The Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site is a stunning mix of 'Capability' Brown parkland, green spaces and formal gardens. The vacancy comes at a time when the public is placing greater value than ever on spending time outdoors and recognising the importance of nature, countryside and gardens on health and wellbeing.
"We are looking to appoint a new head gardener who will relish the opportunity to shape the next chapter of Blenheim's horticultural history," said Blenheim estate's director Roy Cox. "The role will suit someone who has empathy with the custodianship of a long-term gem like Blenheim, has inherent integrity and discretion, but just as importantly vision and the ability to deliver on it," he added.
Blenheim is also making significant investments into further developing an adventure play area and revitalising the Palace's kitchen garden. Created over the centuries by esteemed garden designers such as Henry Wise and Achille Duchêne, Blenheim's formal gardens reflect a journey through the horticultural styles of the ages. Surrounding the Palace they include the majestic Water Terraces, the Duke's Private Italian Garden, the tranquil Secret Garden and the beautifully delicate Rose Garden. The gardens are set within 2,000 acres of 'Capability' Brown landscape, which was carefully designed to appear natural but is in fact 'contrived to pleasing effect'. Significant landmarks include the Great Lake, Column of Victory, the Cascades, Vanbrugh's Grand Bridge and the 'finest view in England' according to the father of Winston Churchill, who was born at Blenheim.
For more information on the role and to apply visit www.blenheim.org/careers/vacancies/head-gardener