Volunteer Opportunities Open Day

Volunteer Opportunities Open Day

Wednesday 6th June 2012

11am–1pm and 3pm-5pm

There are many ways in which you can get involved in the project. Come along on the 6th June to find out more!

As an essential part of the major conservation project at Mount Stewart, volunteers are sought to assist in the collections documentation element of the project

An open day will be held at Mount Stewart this Wednesday 6 June 2012, 11am-1pm and 3pm-5pm.

Please contact Alison Mitchelson by e-mail at Alison.Mitchelson@nationaltrust.org.uk or by phone on 07530 919746 if you have any queries, or please come along on the 6th to find out how you can help!

We look forward to seeing you there!


An Introduction to our Project Joiners – David and Callum

Mount Stewart project joiners with project manager

From left to right: David McClimond (Project Joiner), Dennis Wright (Project Manager), Callum McCaffrey (Project Apprentice Joiner)

David McClimond – Project Joiner

By way of introduction, I gained an interest in joinery at a young age whilst helping my father working around linen houses in the Bann Valley, developing a love for period and listed buildings. I set up my own business in 2006 in order to specialise in restoration and fine joinery work. I gained a wealth of experience having worked on restoration projects on a number of listed buildings which I hope will be invaluable to the success of the Project here. I hope to gain valuable knowledge from the specialist tradesmen that will be employed during the project. I also look forward to learning how a project such as the conservation project here in Mount Stewart will work.

Callum McCaffrey – Project Apprentice Joiner

Hi, my name is Callum McCaffrey and I am the Apprentice Joiner for the project. I am very excited about the opportunity I have been given to work as an apprentice involved in such a unique and interesting venture. I have always wanted to work with wood and after finishing my A Levels, including Design & Technology, I then followed my interests and worked for two years in a wood machining workshop. This was very valuable experience and I learned a lot about the nature of wood and timber and working with machines.

This sparked my interest in more bespoke woodwork and I started to make some of my own pieces in my spare time. I progressed to working on a lathe and I now produce bowls, goblets and other bespoke items.

The characteristics, aesthetics and variety in timber fascinates and intrigues me and I love to work with different timbers and make the most of their beautiful patterns.

When I found out about the opportunity to be involved in the project in Mount Stewart I jumped at the chance. Mount Stewart is such a magnificent house with such fascinating history it is a real privilege to be here as it all unfolds. Along with the interesting work I am doing in the project, working with some of the very talented and knowledgeable people also involved, is teaching me a lot and I look forward to future opportunities to further my knowledge and skills in the conservation and restoration field.

Information on the rest of the project team coming soon…

Kicking off the restoration project

Welcome to the first blog post of the Mount Stewart Restoration Project!

Visitors today will see a magnificent house in need of some serious ‘TLC’.

The house was given to the National Trust by Lady Mairi Bury in 1976 and some remedial works were undertaken in the 1980’s. Lady Mairi Bury, remained in residence until her death in November 2009. In her later years she was in failing health and therefore, very little, in the way of essential maintenance, was carried out because she would not have been able to tolerate such disruption. Her daughter, Lady Rose Lauritzen, is the current donor family representative and is an invaluable source of information. Lady Rose will be keeping a very close eye on what we are doing.

Now we have a situation where the drainage system is failing, there is serious cracking to walls, ceilings and archways and the house requires a new conservation heating system and completely rewiring. If this is not enough we really need to lift the presentation of the house away from the current ‘shabby chic’ to a more vibrant look and feel as it would have been in the halcyon days when Mount Stewart was a place of high society and ‘the place to be seen’.

So, a lot of work to do. It has always been my belief that projects are about people, get the right people, keep them motivated and invariably you will get a good result.

We have gathered a really good team together at Mount Stewart to deliver this complicated project and you will be hearing from them through the blog as the project progresses.

The total cost of all of the works is in the region of £6 million. We have a team of expert engineers and architects who are currently designing solutions to the problems.

Visitors will be able to get up close to the works when we start in the Autumn. The house will be closed for parts of the winter and reopen Spring 2013 when the works will be in full swing. This is great opportunity to see ‘conservation in action’ and members of the National Trust will be able to appreciate why their membership subscriptions are so important in preserving the country’s heritage.

Dennis Wright

Senior Project Manger