Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PS7m to Bring Hall's Colourful Past to Life

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PS7m to Bring Hall's Colourful Past to Life

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HENDERSON Reporter jnl.newsdesk&

AMAJOR heritage visitor attraction on the edge of Tyneside is in line for a PS7m boost.

The 18th Century Seaton Delaval Hall, by architect Sir John Vanbrugh, has been awarded a PS3.7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, while the National Trust - which manages the hall and gardens - will contribute another PS3m.

A campaign will also be launched to raise another PS724,000 for what will be a threeyear project to protect the fabric of the building and enhance the visitor experience.

The hall was the home of the theatrical Delaval family, who laid on lavish costume balls, staged plays, and carried out elaborate practical jokes on guests.

Part of the project will be to devise ways to put across to visitors the colourful stories of the hall's past and the spirit of eccentricity and playfulness of its aristocratic family.

"This is a huge step forward for the hall at a time when visitor numbers are increasing, totalling nearly 80,000 last year," said property general manager Emma Thomas.

"The National Trust is extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Lottery players. This funding will enable our charity to carry out essential repair and conservation work and allow improved access and enjoyment for visitors to Seaton Delaval Hall over the coming years.

"Seaton Delaval Hall is an architectural gem, one of Vanbrugh's greatest works, and is much loved by many in the local community and across the country. However, time and the elements have really taken their toll on this historic house.

"While we're carrying out this important work, we'll be looking at how we can bring the drama of the Delaval family alive for every visitor.

"We'll be working with community groups, artists, students and volunteers to develop an experience befitting this spectacular place."

Since acquiring Seaton Delaval Hall in 2009 after a fundraising campaign backed by The Journal, the National Trust has been carrying out critical building repairs, including improving the site's infrastructure, relaying the Central Hall floor and stabilising its statues, rewiring the west wing, connecting to mains drainage and sewerage and reroofing the east wing. …

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