Celebrating the Queen's Golden Jubilee at Chatsworth
In February 2002 a most unusual request arrived from the agent at Chatsworth Estates, seeking help with the construction of a drystone Royal Cipher (EIIR) on a steep hillside above the River Derwent for their Graces the Duke & Duchess of Devonshire to commemorate the Queen's Jubilee. Almost 300 metres of wall were built for the feature although the walls were only half "normal" height. A team of skilled wallers, and back up "army" of helpers put in over 1,000 hours to complete the project. It had to be said that the work, when viewed on the ground, looked extremely odd: the top tail of the E did not line up with the top of the R, and so on. However, when seen from viewpoints across the river as intended, it miraculously all lined up. The initial planning was done using straw bales and walling pins to get the correct angles.
At the annual Chatsworth Country Fair later in the year, the royal theme was continued with the construction of a wall containing a crown depicted in contrasting coloured Derbyshire stone; and a seat - otherwise called "the throne" - built both as centrepiece and resting place. During the Fair, the sheepdog trials made good use of the unusual layouts created by the E II R walls, not fooling the experts or their dogs, although quite different to the competition sites normally used for such events.
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