Hugh Crossley of the Somerleyton Estate

Adding to the portraiture theme, here is another portrait from 2019 and my ongoing project (if you know of anyone within Waveney that would make provide an interesting social history of the area, please get in touch!)

Hugh Crossley of the Somerleyton Estate

“Somerleyton is a charming run of land between the Waveney river valley to the west and the North Sea to the east, the green lung and ‘nature sink’ for Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. My family followed the path of many northern industrialists down the East Coast in search of the healthier climes and appeal of then booming seaside resorts such as Great Yarmouth. The Crossleys had made their fortune as entrepreneurs of the industrial revolution, taking a small family company and turning it into a global brand – as the slogan went ‘you can’t get better than a Crossleys carpet’
If they were intent of spending their newly won fortune, they found the ideal candidate in Somerleyton Hall, a fabulously extravagant example of Jaco-Victorian architecture – a fine seventeenth century Jacobean manor house, bejewelled with towers and extensive new gardens in the mid nineteenth century by John Thomas, favourite sculptor of Prince Albert and William Andrews Nesfield, the celebrated Victorian garden designer.
I took over the management of the estate in 2005 and have focused on regenerative farming practices and restoring natural habitats as well as strengthening our tourism business at Fritton Lake. The Welsh black cattle seen here are a nod to my mother and our Welsh heritage but were bought in to replace our commercial herd. They do well on extensive naturalistic grazing systems and live as a herd outside all year around allowing them to fulfil their own natural processes, such as wallowing and self-medicating as well providing apex environmental services to the wider environment through their dung.
The virtuous circle of high welfare livestock, living natural outdoor lives, the crucial environmental services they yield living this way and the obvious benefit to us having healthy pasture fed meat to eat is under exploited and deserves to be at the forefront of Government, farmer and consumers’ minds if we are to restore the natural balance that agriculture especially since the 1970’s has, unwittingly or not, done so much to harm.
At Somerleyton we are committed to show casing that profitable farming can co-exist with nature restoration in the hope the other join, for if we farmers don’t work collaboratively on a landscape scale, all is lost. After the war it was justifiably our duty to never go hungry again, now it is our profound moral duty, without incentive or handouts, to restore nature to levels of super abundance for future generations of all species, not just our own”

About Julian Claxton

My passion for photography is supported by experiences gained on exciting travel adventures and through working for fantastic photographers. In 2006, I made the exciting step of realising my dream of becoming a freelance photographer. Since this pivotal moment, I have held numerous exhibitions, been featured nationally & internationally in print and won numerous awards, including being a finalist in the National Geographic Photographic competition in 2013 with one of my documentary images from the Sudan. From an early age I began to enjoy taking pictures of my daily life, basking in the thrill of sending the film to the printers and eagerly awaiting the pocket sized prints. My first foray into the world developing and printing strangely began at school when I was asked to produce a descriptive photo for the school newspaper. A front page shot later and I was destined to start the long arduous journey of becoming a photographer. In between exciting travel adventures and working for fantastic photographers, I graduated from college and at a crossroads in my journey to becoming a pro photographer, I embarked on a career working as a medical photographer. Learning new skills and dabbling in video production as well as progressing design skills, I yearned for the challenge and freedom of becoming a freelance. I have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing assignments which have included shooting a documentary assignment with an air ambulance, gaining full access to a British Pro cycling team during an international UCI tour, cycling to Rwanda and creating a photographic documentary of my journey. The experiences continue to grow, meeting wonderful people to photograph and telling the story of their journey. The list of events and striking moments that have played out through my viewfinder continue to grow and provide me with ever increasing snapshots of life to capture. One of the highlights of my career thus far has been staying in rural Uganda, teaching photography to the kids from the region, in a project I set up in late 2014, entitled ‘Give a child a camera’. The basis of the project is to supply 35mm cameras and film to the rural schools in this region of East Africa, teaching the children how to shoot photographs. After a week of taking photos of their life, an exhibition is held at the school and the children leave with their very own album, camera and film. One of the images I shot at Eden school in rural Uganda, during morning chapel won the 2015 Travel Media Tourism and Photography award. A great honour and one that I wouldn’t have picked up had it not been for the wonderful children of East Africa. For further information please visit
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s