Fringe Box



Clandon Park Fire: Access Still Limited But Significant Items Rescued

Published on: 6 May, 2015
Updated on: 8 May, 2015
Removing the carpet from the Speakers' Parlour after the fire - Photo NT

After the fire – removing the carpet from the Speakers’ Parlour – Photo NT

One of Clandon Park’s most important rooms has miraculously survived almost intact after the devastating fire left the 18th century mansion a burnt out shell last week (Wednesday April 29).

While the building is being assessed for structural damage, only limited access has been granted to the least damaged parts of the house.

Among these is the Speakers’ Parlour, one of the ground floor rooms, which celebrated the three members of the Onslow family who were Speakers for the House of Commons over the centuries.

The Speakers' Parlour which became the Dining Room early C19th. The Room takes its name from the portraits of the Onslow Speakers of the House of Commons.

Before the fire – the Speakers’ Parlour became the dining room in the early C19th. The room takes its name from the portraits of the Onslow Speakers of the House of Commons – Photo NT – Click on image to expand

The Speakers’ Parlour remains almost intact after the fire which has enabled access to the collections that remained inside.

Objects now taken to safety include the ornate ormolu chandelier which was part of the decorative scheme from 1801, the large Turkey carpet dating from the 19th century, the decorative polished brass and steel fender from the fireplace and pieces of delicate, gilt etched glassware.

The decorative plaster ceiling in the Speakers’ Parlour, among the most magnificent in the house, has been carefully propped up to protect it, and the chimneypiece, designed by the house’s architect Giacomo Leoni in the 1720s, has also survived.

All the paintings from the room, including the portraits of Arthur Onslow, the Great Speaker, and Richard Onslow, Speaker in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, were rescued on the day of the fire.

The view of the roof shows how sadly extensive is the fire damage to the rest of the house - Photo NT Rob Stothard

The view of the roof shows how extensive the fire damage to the rest of the house is – Photo NT Rob Stothard – Click on image to expand

Jim Foy who is managing the salvage operation at Clandon comments: “It is heartening that we have been able to rescue more of the important items inside the house and we hope that there will be more good news as the salvage operation continues.

“We are still limited in terms of access while structural engineers assess the building. The weather is also a big factor as we wait to see how the building responds to conditions like the high winds we have had over the past couple of days. We are incredibly grateful for the continued support we are receiving from volunteers, external specialists, the fire service and many others.”

The investigation to identify the cause of the fire continues.

It is too early to say what the longer term plans will be for Clandon Park but donations raised will help it to face its uncertain future. Readers wishing to make a donation are asked to call 0344 800 1895 or donate online at

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