Haddon Hall gets Covid recovery funding for essential repairs to Elizabethan architectural masterpiece
Haddon Hall is to receive a share of a £1.57billion Government Covid recovery fund to carry out critical restoration on one of the UK’s most architecturally significant rooms.
In 2011, a report found that the Long Gallery was at immediate risk of irrevocable damage due to its central bay subsiding, but owners Lord and Lady Edward Manners were not in a position to finance the work.
The Historic Houses Foundation (HHF) has now approved a grant for an undisclosed amount – the maximum would be £250,000 – drawn from the Heritage Stimulus Fund, following a similar grant for work on the chapel’s medieval stained glass window.
Lord Manners said: “We are truly overwhelmed and grateful to receive a second round of funding It is difficult to articulate the contribution that one room can make to an already nationally important heritage destination but that is precisely what the Long Gallery does.
“It is of vital importance to the overall health of Haddon’s financial position and contributes directly to the employment of many people within a rural area.
He added: “Lady Edward and I are particularly pleased that this highly skilled work can be undertaken by local craftsmen and talented professionals, to help us safeguard the future of Haddon for generations to come.”
HHF grants go to historic buildings in all categories of ownership, so range far wider than the National Trust.
Chairman Norman Hudson said: “That we have been selected as a delivery partner for this money indicates that the Government likes what we do and the cost efficient way in which we achieve it. It is good news for historic buildings, for jobs and the local community.”
Designed by Robert Smythson in 1582, the 110-feet long gallery is traditionally a highlight of a trip to the hall, with many visitors coming specifically to see it.
Today it is used for a wide variety of activities, including civil ceremonies, music recitals, conferences, exhibitions, artisan markets and it is also a favourite with filmmakers.
Lady Manners said: “It really is a joy to see visitors’ overwhelming love and admiration for the Long Gallery, and wonderful to now ensure that people will be able to keep enjoying it long into the future.”