Today, Sunday 24th March, we have made the decision to close due to adverse weather conditions.
With the launch of our new exhibitions: Bellini, Botticelli, Titian… 500 years of Italian Art, along with Outside In, we were really excited and looking forward to opening the doors for the 2013 season. Weather conditions however, and safety concerns for our visitors, staff and volunteers has forced us to close the site. As we are regularly closed on Mondays, our next open day shall be Tuesday 26th March, and by then we hope the worst of the weather will have passed by.
Making the decision to close is always very difficult, and thankfully one we rarely have to make. Mother Nature often puts her point across so clearly however that sometimes we have no choice but to close, and common sense wins the day.
Being responsible for the grounds, I regularly check and compare weather forecasts, and I’m sure you’d agree that there’s often inconsistency between them. Occasionally however, the forecasts do coincide and this does have a strong influence on our actions and decisions. Towards the end of last week the forecasts did all connect, and whilst the outlook wasn’t good, we metaphorically linked arms and prepared for the worst.
A private view to launch the new exhibitions on Friday evening was another colourful, lively and succesful event; the first reactions to the new exhibitions were very encouraging. The icy rain blowing across from the East Park however was a warning of things to come. Overnight a few inches of snow fell, and yesterday morning we awoke to a blanket of snow. The first staff on site were quick to report the conditions and as roads around Compton Verney were passable, the decision was made to clear our on site paths and car park. We were helped by local farming contractor Nick Gasson, and between us cleared the car park, drives and even a path through the Ice House Coppice. All was clear for opening at the regular time, and our decision was vindicated when the first visitors headed up to the mansion a few minutes after opening.
Today however, we’ve had to admit defeat, as the conditions are such that closure is the only option. As mentioned above, our commitment and duty of care to our visitors, staff and volunteers is paramount; many of whom travel from remote locations. In lieu of this decision, I offer some snowy images in this post as a peace-offering; it really is beautiful, if a little hazardous in the grounds just now.
We look forward to welcoming visitors at the next available opportunity, and hope by then the spring weather will have sprung into action. Whether you can’t wait to see the new exhibitions, the chapel that will now be open regularly, or simply await the Wild Tulips, Daffodils and Bluebells; please pop Compton Verney in your diaries for Spring 2013,