THERE are many Castle Howards. There’s the magnificent country home designed by Sir John Vanbrugh in 1699 for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle. There’s Castle Howard the film set where, most famously, the 1981 TV series of Brideshead Revisited was made - turning the house into one of the most famous stately homes in the world.

There’s Castle Howard the visitor attraction: first opened to the public in July 1952 by George Howard, today the house and gardens are visited by about 250,000 people every year.

And there’s Castle Howard the star of programmes such as It’s A Knockout and Antiques Roadshow. More recently, the great country house has become a hit with Chinese visitors. In 2015 Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou married his Australian girlfriend Hannah Quinliven at Selby Abbey.

The pair then held their wedding reception at Castle Howard - sparking a rush of Chinese visitors.

The house has now built on that Chinese connection by forming a link with one of China’s great ancient formal gardens: the Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou.

Since opening its doors as a public visitor attraction in 1952, millions of people have thronged to Castle Howard. But in fact, visitors have been coming to the house since the day building work began in 1700, says Castle Howard curator Dr Christopher Ridgway.

In the early days, many left invaluable descriptions and records of their reactions, not to mention paintings and sketches. More recently, once the age of photography had dawned, many began to take photographs too. Since the house opened its doors to the public in 1952, the number of photographs being taken has soared.

There are perhaps not as many of the inside of the house as you might expect, because for a long time the estate operated a “no photographs” policy indoors. But there have been countless photographs taken of the outside of the house and its grounds.

Now Dr Ridgway and his team are keen to compile an archive of digital images that tell the story of the house’s history in pictures.

They have called the project “Capturing the Castle”. “A picture speaks a thousand words,” Dr Ridgway says.

“And so to complement all the written descriptions and comments by visitors we are asking the public to send in any images they have for us to scan and upload onto our website.

“These can be contemporary digital images, or they could be scans of older photographs in colour or black and white.

“They might date from early in the 20th century, or from when Castle Howard was opened in 1952; they might record a family visit, a picnic in the grounds, or they might capture one of the many events that have been held at Castle Howard: prom concerts, country fairs, steam rallies, and television shows like It’s A Knockout in the 1980s, or one of the visits by the BBC Antiques Roadshow.”

If you have a picture of the house you think Dr Ridgway and his team might be interested in, you can email a scan of your photo to, including a few details such as date, occasion and who is featured in the photograph.

Alternatively, you can send your photographs by post to Capturing the Castle, Castle Howard, York YO60 7DA, stating whether you want the photograph returned.

To get you started, we include a selection of old photographs and postcards of Castle Howard on these pages today. They range from George Howard showing around a party of visitors from the York Georgian Society in the early 1950s, to a snap of Queen Mary arriving for a visit in 1931 and an image of the house without is distinctive dome, which was destroyed by fire in 1940 and not rebuilt until 20 years later.

We even have some photos of Sophia Loren taken at Castle Howard in 1965 during the filming of the Hollywood film Lady L and reproduced courtesy of York cameraman and photographer Keith Massey, who was there.

They’re great photos all - but we’re sure there are plenty more out there.

The initial aim is to put on a display

of some of the photographs and memories on July 31, which the Castle Howard estate has declared to be Howard Day.

That will be an annual celebration of all things Castle Howard, says Dr Ridgway, and will be held each year on the last day of July - the very day that George Howard first opened the house up to the public in 1952.

Over to you...