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National Trust’s Plans For Clandon Park: ‘A Great House Laid Bare’

Published on: 7 Jul, 2022
Updated on: 7 Jul, 2022

The National Trust has announced its plans for Clandon Park, catastrophically damaged by fire in April 2015.

Images of Clandon Park house from the National Trust’s new video on YouTube. Link details at the end of this story.

It says these will feature walkways and platforms for visitors to explore the interiors at different levels, alongside a new roof with terraces and roof lights illuminating the building’s dramatic spaces.

Visitors will be able to access the new roof and view the interior spaces of the house from above, as well as the surrounding countryside.

The fire was the most devastating in the National Trust’s history. It completely destroyed the roof, many of the internal walls and floors, along with much of the decorative interior, leaving a brick shell, open to the elements and filled with several feet of fire-damaged collections and building debris. 

The National Trust says that Immediately after the fire, work had to focus on protecting and stabilising the building and painstakingly salvaging damaged collections and building material.

Specialist research and conservation has revealed more and more about how the house was designed, constructed and decorated.

Project director Kent Rawlinson said: “Since the fire, curators, archaeologists, craftspeople and other specialists have learnt so much about and from Clandon.

“We’ve welcomed over 70,000 people, and their responses have shown us how powerful and exciting Clandon is today. It’s such an evocative, unusual place, and people respond to it in so many ways. We’ve had artists, scientists, engineers, designers, tradespeople, young children, all gasping in awe.

“Clandon Park remains a great house today, physically laid bare and stripped back to its skeleton-like core. The trust’s plans for Clandon are grounded in respect for the house’s history and design.

“They give Clandon a distinct purpose for the future, as a place to explore its architectural spaces, as well as the craft skills and people who made this and similar great houses across the country.”  

The National Trust adds that infrastructure will give the house’s interior a new lease of life, enabling events, displays, and creative uses of the space, including re-display of saved collections.

Approximately 600 items from the original collection were saved from the house during the fire, including paintings, furniture, ceramics, and textiles.

It says a creative approach will be taken to displaying these within the house, using them to illuminate craft and art processes, their skilled makers and to tell stories of the many people who lived and worked at Clandon.

Craftspeople are repairing the exterior of the house – its historic brickwork, arches and doorways – in what is itself one of the National Trust’s largest ever conservation projects.

It has moved away from earlier plans to restore some ground floor rooms. These will now be conserved and curated in their laid-bare condition, except the one space that survived the fire, the Speakers’ Parlour.

The National Trust has completed initial feasibility work for the new approach and detailed designs will now be developed by architects Allies & Morrison for planning and statutory approvals. The conservation and repair of the brick and stone shell will continue in parallel.

The National Trust estimates the whole project will be completed by late 2027-28, depending on the duration of the construction programme. 

Click here to view the National Trust video on YouTube New plans for Clandon Park embrace a great house laid bare.

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