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.
Senior Project Manger