Largest ever conservation project at Ickworth to begin this year
PUBLISHED: 07:30 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:07 14 June 2019
The largest conservation project to ever take place at a Suffolk National Trust property will begin this year to safeguard its future for generations to come.
The work at Ickworth, near Bury St Edmunds, will see the iconic Rotunda roof retiled as well as improvements to the East Wing roof to protect the collection housed inside from leaking rainwater.
The installation of lightning protection to the roof will also add an additional layer of protection.
The year-long 'Ickworth Uncovered' project, which will cost nearly £5million, has been made possible through the generosity of National Trust members and supporters alongside a fundraising appeal.
Additional grant funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has also provided the opportunity for visitors to experience Ickworth in a completely new way.
From a live video feed directly from the Rotunda roof to new ways of seeing more of the collection, the £85,000 grant will enable visitors to delve deeper into the story of Ickworth and see the historic property uncovered.
Throughout the year, visitors will be able to discover how the project progresses and the new way to explore the property - Experiencing Ickworth Uncovered - will launch in January 2020.
Andrew Rowson, project manager, said: "Ickworth Uncovered will help safeguard Ickworth and its highly significant collections for years to come.
"The craftsmanship that went into building Ickworth is incredible, but it is also natural that over time repairs will be needed.
"We are working with a highly specialised team, to ensure we honour this historical craftsmanship.
"From individually cutting the slate on site to form a domed roof, to the complexities of erecting scaffolding around a historic building, we are looking forward to the challenge and sharing our progress with visitors."
Each part of the work is a vast undertaking due to the sheer scale of Ickworth, with work just to build scaffolding around the Rotunda expected to take at least two months.
A total of 7,000 slates will be taken off of the domed roof and replaced - together weighing 42 tonnes and each one individually shaped and sized to create the dome.
The highly complex engineer-designed scaffold enclosing the whole of the Rotunda, including a temporary roof, will begin to be erected late summer, with work on the roof due to start in late autumn.
Tim Watson, general manager, said "We are very excited by what visitors will see during Ickworth Uncovered.
"Any major project which affects how Ickworth is presented will have its challenges but we are working hard to develop an experience for visitors to see Ickworth, its collections and its buildings, in a completely new way.
"We look forward to visitors seeing a different part of our story and supporting us in our journey to secure Ickworth's legacy for future years."
Anne Jenkins, Midlands and East director at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "Ickworth Uncovered will provide visitors with the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal to the fascinating conservation work, and enable them to explore the enviable collections and buildings of Ickworth, whilst learning new stories and discovering unseen treasures."