Hillsborough Castle, the official royal residence of Her Majesty The Queen in Northern Ireland, reopens for the spring/summer season with a new display in the Downshire Gallery from 2 April.

Faces of Hillsborough is a specially curated photography exhibition displaying images of some of the many people who have played a part in Hillsborough Castle’s history, including the family who built the castle, staff who have worked there, and guests who have visited over the years. The exhibition will comprise more than 60 photographs drawn from a variety of archive and media sources, many of them rarely seen.

The earliest photograph to be displayed dates from c.1895 and depicts the 21-strong Hillsborough Guard, resplendent in uniform outside the castle. Other exhibits include a photograph of Garden Superintendent Arthur Malpas and Floss the dog in the castle’s gardens in 1950, Margaret Thatcher and Garrett FitzGerald signing the Anglo Irish agreement in 1985, Mo Mowlam at the Garden Party she organised in 1999, together with photographs capturing royal visits by The Queen Mother in the 1950s, Diana, Princess of Wales in 1992, and The Queen from the year of her coronation to her most recent visit when she planted a tree with Secretary of State Theresa Villiers during the Hillsborough Garden Party in 2014.

The curators are also keen to welcome photographs taken at Hillsborough Castle by the public for future display in the exhibition. Claire Dalton, Assistant Curator at Hillsborough Castle, said: “Hillsborough Castle holds a unique place in the history of Northern Ireland and this exhibition will help to bring many key moments to life for our visitors. We are also asking people to share their own images of Hillsborough Castle for display. I’m sure that we will discover many more fascinating unseen photographs of the castle and the people that have visited, worked and lived there over the years.”

Entry to Hillsborough Castle and the Faces of Hillsborough exhibition is by guided tour. Guided tours are available daily from 2 – 12 April, every day in August and every weekend including Bank Holidays until the end of September. Tours can be booked by calling Hillsborough Castle Visitor Services on 02892 681300 or by emailing hillsboroughcastle@hrp.org.uk Ticket prices are £7 adults or £5 concessions (house only) or £12 adults and £8 concessions (house and gardens). Tours must be booked in advance. A limited number of tickets are available for sale on the day from the visitor information centre.

Historic Royal Palaces, the heritage and conservation charity responsible for HM Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Banqueting House and Kew Palace, assumed responsibility for Hillsborough Castle from the Northern Ireland Office in April 2014.

The charity is undertaking a major project to transform the visitor experience at Hillsborough Castle and open up the castle and its grounds to the widest possible audience. The project will include a new £500k Clore Learning Centre, and an estimated investment of £12-15m for new visitor facilities, a car park and works to open up areas of the castle that have previously been inaccessible to the public.  Initial building works will take place this year and the project is expected to be completed in 2019.

Notes for Editors

For further information please contact the Historic Royal Palaces press office: 020 3166 6166 or press@hrp.org.uk

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. It aims to help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built.

Historic Royal Palaces raises all its own funds and depends on the support of its visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers.  Registered charity number 1068852.

For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk