A stately home in south east Northumberland has been handed a vital lifeline after being given almost half a million pounds of funding.
Seaton Delaval Hall received the money from the SITA Trust to save the crumbling heart of the Grade 1 listed building.
The money will be used to repair and conserve the magnificent Central Hall at the National Trust run stately home on the south east Northumberland coast, which was damaged in a devastating fire which swept through much of the early 18th century mansion nearly 200 years ago.
Without the £496,000 grant the Central Hall which has remained a shell since the 1822 inferno, was in danger of being officially condemned within the next 12 months.
But thanks to the SITA Trust heritage award the National Trust can now carry out the urgent conservation work needed to safeguard its future.
Work will start at the end of September to stabilise the building, restore the striking black and white chequerboard floor and preserve six life-size statues representing the arts – music, painting, sculpture, architecture, geography and astronomy.
At the same time the West wing which has been closed for rewiring will re-open.
The stately home will remain open to visitors who will be able to see the conservation work in progress.
It is hoped to employ local firms, bringing much needed jobs and money to the area.
Cheryl Moore, the National Trust’s chartered building surveyor for Seaton Delaval Hall, said: “Without the generosity of SITA Trust and the generous help of several individuals and local trusts and foundations which have also supported the project, we would not have been able to keep the Central Hall open.
“The building is deteriorating at such a rate that within the next 12 months we would have had to close that part of the building completely.
“In high winds last November we lost a couple of windows, masonry is falling and the cellars are regularly flooded because of gaps in the stonework.
“Winning this grant has really put the spotlight back on the north east.”
Seaton Delaval Hall was one of three finalists whittled down from 12 potential projects invited to compete for the SITA Trust money to be used for urgent repairs either to ensure an important heritage site can stay open or re-open.