A £7.8m restoration project has been unveiled at Seaton Delaval Hall.

Curtain raises on major restoration project at Seaton Delaval Hall

A major £7.8million restoration project has been completed at Seaton Delaval Hall.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 9:00 am

Officials at the popular are visitor attraction are celebrating the completion of major parts of the scheme.

And the recent easing of Covid restrictions means many of the new and restored features at the National Trust attraction can now take centre stage.

Funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Trust plus substantial support from grants and donors has enabled ‘The Curtain Rises’ project has seen painstaking work to restore some of the Hall’s most iconic features and put the drama back into Northumberland’s most flamboyant ‘party’ house.

Conservation specialists, architects, surveyors, engineers, staff and volunteers have continued to work throughout the challenges of the pandemic to ensure the survival of one of Vanbrugh’s greatest works.

The Hall’s iconic cantilever staircases had to have its own conservation management plan in place due to the delicate nature of the structures, with every single stone fitted to the next stair without central support.

Work to the staircases has included the installation of new steps and landings and works to a number of the steps.

One of the most visible transformations is in the Hall’s basement, which has been turned from a dark, damp, unevenly floored space into an atmospheric, architectural, and visually striking part of the building now accessible to visitors.

The largest single element of the project has been interior and exterior works to the Hall’s West Wing.

This spring, the team were finally able to welcome visitors into the new Brewhouse Café, set in the once disused brewhouse.

Emma Thomas, General Manager at National Trust Seaton Delaval Hall, said: “We’re delighted to be sharing the Hall’s revival with our visitors this summer.

"When the pandemic hit in 2020 we knew that the show must go on so we could keep our commitment to the local community, visitors to the Hall and all those who have supported us in bringing this truly unique place back to life.

“Beautiful and historic places matter to people and this has felt particularly pertinent over the last 18 months.

"As a conservation charity, it’s our responsibility to care for places like Seaton Delaval Hall so they’re here for future generations to enjoy.

"Through the extensive repairs, expert work, re-introduction of lost features, and some new features that celebrate the Delaval spirit, we’re looking forward to Seaton Delaval Hall taking the starring role in local history one more.”

Further work is planned for 2022, with the reopening of the West Wing, the installation of new interpretation and the Rising Stars partnership with Northumbria University.

Outside, more transformations can be found in the South East gardens.

Vanbrugh’s path networks and sightlines have been reinstated, Lady Tyrconnel’s flower garden has also been reintroduced while The Oval has been restored to its full size, ready for visitors to enjoy this summer.

There are also two opposing playful interventions, the Dark Matter Cube and the Mirror Cube.

Other playful interventions include a new children’s play area, designed and built by Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces presenter, William Hardie of Studio Hardie named ‘Delaval Playdium’ by the Howarth family of Holywell after a competition.

Emma continued: "We’ve been honoured to see families and friends reuniting here after time apart, and once again enjoy spending time together whilst exploring the changes and new features made during the last 18 months.

“The new planting, spaces and features in the gardens and the reinstating of the historic path network now provides an outdoor experience fitting of the spectacle of Seaton Delaval Hall and allows visitors to experience it more as Vanbrugh intended.”

For more visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/seaton-delaval-hall

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