We protect an internationally-important collection of historic sites and artefacts which span six millennia, from the ancient past to the present day and include palaces, houses, hill figures, castles, abbeys, industrial sites, Roman forts and even deserted medieval villages. Caring for these places and their collections for the benefit of this and future generations is a cornerstone of everything we do. The generous support of many donors enables us to do this. We have now embarked on the largest conservation programme in our history. Highly skilled conservation work will be carried out on an unprecedented scale, and we will allow the public to witness this as it progresses.
We will launch a series of new projects at sites along Hadrian’s Wall, including the Roman fort and town of Corbridge and the breathtakingly beautiful fort at Birdoswald. Outstanding collections of Roman artefacts will be redisplayed. At Chesters Roman Fort we will tell the story of John Clayton’s heroic efforts to save Hadrian’s Wall.
The transformation of Walmer Castle and Gardens is underway. An inventory from the days when William Pitt the Younger had use of the castle has allowed for the representation of two rooms. The simple campaign bed in which Duke of Wellington slept, far away from the grandeur of his London home Apsley House, will take on a new meaning during the 200th anniversary of Waterloo. The picturesque landscape will be restored, including a wildflower meadow and an elevated walkway across a former quarry called the Glen.
We have gradually restored and opened up new areas at the impressive Grade 1 stately home Audley End House and Gardens in Essex – the stables, the nursery, the Coal Gallery, organic kitchen garden, the servants’ quarters – but urgent work is required to make the roof watertight and repair the intricate masonry.
The mighty medieval fortress at Dover has guarded our shores for more than 20 centuries and been described as the ‘Key to England.’ Essential maintenance work must be carried out to make sure the castle and its ground continue to offer visitors spectacular days out long into the future.
Amid the Art Deco interiors at Eltham Palace and Gardens, renovations and repairs are under way that will see five new rooms, created by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, open to the public for the first time. We will also be able to uncover and protect the unique set of maps and 1930s wall-paintings hidden under layers of paint and wallpaper in the Courtaulds’ secretary’s room.
The view of Archer Pavilion across the Long Water in the grounds of Wrest Park is one of the most iconic in the country. But there is water damage to the interior of the pavilion, putting at risk the plaster and historic wall paintings dating back to the early 18th century.
Watch our video about the current investment programme or find out more about conservation projects and tenders.