Museum mourns loss of 'great friend' Robert Hardy

By Patrick Edwards in Local People

STAFF at the Judge’s Lodging museum in Presteigne have said they are "hugely saddened" by the passing of the actor Robert Hardy.

Mr Hardy, who died aged 91 on Thursday, August 3, lent his voice to the museum’s audio tour, which leads visitors through the gaslit world of a Victorian household.

Hardy, whose most famous roles included playing the cantankerous vet Siegfried Sassoon in All Creatures Great and Small and ’Minister for Magic’ Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter films, provided the voice for the tour of Richard Lister Venables, chairman of the magistrates.

In 1997, he made a memorable appearance at the courthouse building’s opening as a museum, processing through Presteigne’s streets in an 1860s horse-drawn carriage, flanked by local policemen wearing Victorian uniforms and local cadets, who took on the duties of the Victorian javelin men, protectors of visiting judges.

On arrival, he gave a rousing speech about the value of protecting heritage sites such as the courthouse.

After cutting the ribbon, Mr Hardy’s official duties on that day were complete, but he never stopped asking after the museum. Visitors to the museum are still greeted by photographs of him dressed in his Victorian garb as they go in.

The Judge’s Lodging is open from Tuesday to Sunday and on Bank Holiday Mondays.