Clandon Park House to be partly restored after fire

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Media captionDrone footage shows the inside of the fire-damaged Clandon Park House

Parts of Clandon Park House, which was reduced to a shell by a fire in April, are to be restored to their "original glory", the National Trust (NT) says.

The most important ground floor rooms in the stately home are to be restored, while the upper floors are to be used for exhibitions and events.

The principal rooms are to be recreated as they were in the 18th Century.

The 8th Earl of Onslow, whose family rebuilt the house in the 1720s, has said it should remain a ruin.

The Palladian mansion near Guildford was bequeathed to the NT in 1956 by the Onslow family.

About 95% of the Grade I-listed house, which featured in the 2008 film The Duchess starring Keira Knightley, was damaged.

Image copyright National Trust
Image caption The Marble Hall is one of the rooms the National Trust wants to restore
Image copyright National Trust
Image caption A fire bell from the floor about the Marble Hall was one of about 400 objects rescued from the fire
Image copyright National Trust
Image caption Sculptor John Michael Rysbrack's marble chimney pieces and over mantels survived in the Marble Hall

The trust said it was confident a number of principal rooms on the ground floor, including the Marble Hall, Speakers' Parlour and Saloon, could be restored.

A spokesman said: "The fact that so many features survived and items from the rooms are being recovered from the ashes made the case for restoration compelling.

"The enduring significance of the architect Leoni's original designs means it will go back instead to look at the 18th Century decorative schemes and layout of the house."

The trust said the upper floors were "less architecturally significant" and had already been altered since the house was first built.

Image copyright National Trust
Image caption Part of the plaster frieze in the Saloon remains after April's fire
Image copyright National Trust
Image caption The Saloon is one of the ground floor principal rooms to be restored

Helen Ghosh, director general of the National Trust, said: "The fire at Clandon was shocking, but gives us the opportunity not only to show our respect for the heritage of the past, but also to create new heritage for the future.

"The loss of so many of the contents of the house means that we cannot return it to how it looked the day before the fire.

"However, we now know more about the original layout and recognise that the enduring significance of the house is its architecture."

The trust said it had looked at a number of options for the house to ensure Clandon Park remained open and accessible to the public.

A spokesman said the cost of the work was expected to be met largely through the trust's insurance policy, although it would also be asking supporters for donations.

Image copyright National Trust Images/John Hammond
Image caption Thomas 2nd Baron Onslow built the current Palladian mansion in the 18th Century

Clandon Park and the Onslow family

  • The Onslow family has been associated with the site since 1641 when Sir Arthur Onslow, MP for Surrey, relocated to the area from London.
  • His grandson, Thomas, 2nd Baron Onslow, rebuilt the manor house on Clandon Park as a Palladian Mansion in the 1720s.
  • The estate fell into disrepair in the mid-19th Century before the 4th Earl of Onslow began refurbishing when he inherited the earldom in 1870.
  • The family allowed Clandon Park House to be used as a military hospital in World War I and as a depository for the Public Records Office during World War II.
  • It was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1956, more than a decade before the current earl was born.

Source: National Trust

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