They will be a long way from their usual home deep in the Cotswolds, but for three days this week a small flock of sheep will be resident in the courtyard of Somerset House, right in the center of London.
With Campaign for Wool transforming the west wing of Somerset House into ‘Wool House’ for 11 days from Wednesday 13th March to Sunday 24th March, The National Sheep Association and British Wool Marketing Board felt it was important to have sheep resident for a period of the exhibition (Thursday 14th March to Saturday 16th March) so visitors could be close at hand to the wonderful animals that produce such an incredibly versatile and interesting natural fibre.
Visitors will be able to wander through the rooms of Wool House, seeing the largest ever exhibition of wool-based interiors, fabrics, fashions, floorings and crafts, before stepping into the courtyard to see three different breeds of sheep – Cotswold, Kerry Hill and Lleyn. Volunteer NSA members will be on hand to talk about all types of sheep, not just outlining their role in the wool industry but also the incredible range of other contributions sheep make, including putting delicious British lamb on consumers’ plates, contributing to the UK economy via a thriving export trade, maintaining iconic UK landscapes and keeping rural communities alive.
Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “I believe wool is the most sustainable fibre on the planet – produced as a by-product of the natural life cycle of one of our oldest domesticated grazing animals, using little more than grass and herbage. It is important that alongside Wool House visitors can see the fine animals that achieve this and appreciate all the ways they contribute to society.
In upland Britain sheep are
the natural and efficient way to produce food and economic activity
from lower value forage and semi-natural habitats, whilst also maintaining
our landscape and biodiversity. Our uplands also store millions of tonnes
of carbon, helping to address climate change. Meanwhile, in lowland
areas, sheep are an essential part of rotational mixed farms, providing
soil fertility for cereal and vegetable crops while also producing meat
and wool, and even milk in some situations.”
Ian Hartley, BWMB Chief Executive Officer, says: “Sheep farmers toiling in every weather type the UK throws at them may feel a long way from the splendour of Wool House and the products on display here, but these stunning room sets showcase the difference wool can make and will hopefully inspire greater use of the fibre, which will be great for producers. Wool has many qualities that make it versatile and desirable to designers, and the work done by Campaign for Wool and the British Wool Marketing Board is essential in securing a decent price for the sheep farmer who produce it.”