Creative restoration

The eighteenth-century Lincoln Stables © NTPL/Andrew Butler

The eighteenth-century Lincoln Stables

Project:
Discovery and exhibition centre
Location:
Clumber Park

Many buildings within our care are no longer fit for their original purpose and are not currently being used. This does not mean that these redundant buildings do not have a future. Many have the potential to be adapted for alternative use either for commercial or community projects.

An example of the successful adaptation of a building has taken place on the Clumber Park estate in Nottinghamshire. After careful consideration, the Brewhouse, part of a group of semi-derelict Grade II listed buildings in the stable yard, was adapted for use as an Exhibition and Discovery Centre.

Beyond conservation, both external and internal appearances correspond closely to their former state. Construction work did involve some external alterations, for example the re-roofing of the derelict central area. This had been roofless since a fire some fifty years previously. The main entrance was also enlarged to its original eighteenth century form. Alterations to the interiors included:

  • the fitting of a glazed roof over part of the open court area to form a lobby;
  • the re-opening of a bricked-up arcade to enable a former store room to become exhibition space;
  • the insertion of an independent floor within the re-roofed central Brewhouse area; and
  • the insertion of a platform lift behind the reception.

Adapting a building, such as the Brewhouse requires care to ensure that original features are maintained. Some of the fascinating things that were discovered during the survey work here included:

  • a well;
  • eighteenth century plaster on the ceiling in one of the stable boys’ rooms (probably made using straw from the estate);
  • an eighteenth century tiled floor in the stable area;
  • ornate fireplaces, and other original features that had previously been bricked up.

These fantastic discoveries have been utilised in the interpretation of the estate buildings.

Happily, this formerly redundant building now has a practical purpose. This project has provided an imaginative and sympathetic re-use of a burnt-out building, and also given the opportunity to open to visitors a derelict and hitherto unseen part of the Clumber Park estate.