Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Go Wacky for the Weekend; This Weekend, Visit One of Britain's Eccentric and Fascinating Historical Gems Not Usually Open to the Public, Says Jane Barry

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Go Wacky for the Weekend; This Weekend, Visit One of Britain's Eccentric and Fascinating Historical Gems Not Usually Open to the Public, Says Jane Barry

Article excerpt

Byline: JANE BARRY

FROM pretty cottages to banqueting halls, from follies to towers, the Landmark Trust charity has been saving Britain's smaller and quirkier historic buildings from dilapidation or conversion since 1965 - architectural treasures with no other hope of restoration. It has so far restored more than 200 across Britain, many Grade I listed.

This weekend, the charity is throwing open 40 of these buildings to the public for free to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

During Open Doors Weekend, you can visit 21 Princelet Street, an 18th century Huguenot silk-weavers' house in Spitalfields, a recent acquisition.

In the South-East, properties include Laughton Place, near Lewes, a 1534 tower and moat, and Willmington Priory, Eastbourne, a medieval monastic building. Travel a little further afield and you can sample the delights of two restored banqueting houses - at Chipping Camden in Gloucestershire, and the quatrefoil Martello Tower at Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

Warden Abbey, Bedfordshire, is an idiosyncratically proportioned house that is all that remains of an 1135 Cistercian Abbey. And if you happen to be in Penzance, the 1835 Egyptian House, with its colossal Egyptian-style facade, is a fascinating treat.

"We do have a weakness for the curious and the eccentric," says Alastair Dick-Cleland, Landmark's head of conservation. "They also tend to be the sort of buildings that get into distress."

The charity receives 100 requests for help each year but can only take on three to five projects, for which it raises all the funding externally.

The restoration work is meticulously researched and, to achieve the best result possible, traditional building materials and methods always used.

"The detail matters a lot to us," says Dick-Cleland.

To generate income for maintenance and to ensure the restored buildings never again lie empty, Landmark lets 183 of them year-round for holidays, usually from three nights to three weeks. All the properties, therefore, have up-to-date bathrooms and kitchens.

Open Doors Weekend gives you the chance to visit a restoration in progress.

The Grange, Ramsgate, Kent, is the charity's most ambitious project. Built in the 1840s by the pioneer of the Victorian Gothic revival, Augustus Pugin, as a family home (he added a church and a monastery), it was about to be converted into flats when Landmark stepped in eight years ago to save it.

Usually the charity acquires or leases buildings from owners anxious to find a solution for their derelict property, but it bought The Grange on the open market for about [pounds sterling]200,000 with help from a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant.

But that was just the start.

THE [pounds sterling]2.5 million project includes remedying botched 20th century repairs to the windows and roof, rebuilding the top section of the tower, restoring chimney stacks and eaves to the original design, repairing the stained glass and, of course, modernising wiring and plumbing. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.