Help us save England's forgotten palace
After nearly 600 years, Knole’s colourful past is finally catching up with it in the form of chronic damp, decay and disrepair.
Over the years Knole has been added to, altered and parts have even been rebuilt. It has a spirit and life of its own.
This lack of a single architectural vision has left Knole prone to the elements. The building materials are all deteriorating at different rates and reacting to the weather in different ways.
Knole is England’s Forgotten Palace.
We need to take action now! Please help us rescue England’s Forgotten Palace.
Copyright for the images on the Knole appeal bookmark: Knole ©NTPL/Robert Morris; Henry VIII ©NTPL/John Hammond; Elizabeth I ©NTPL/Christopher Hurst; Thomas Sackville ©NTPL/John Hammond with permission from the Sackville estate; Vita Sackville-West ©NTPL/John Hammond; Knole Lion ©John Miller
If we don't take action now, Knole will not only become structurally unsafe meaning we would have to close it to visitors, but there are many priceless collections held within the grand walls of Knole that are at risk of irreversible damage too.
The importance of these treasures can not be over stated. Knole has one of the most significant collections of 17th-century upholstered furniture and textiles in the country, if not the world. Each is a precious ‘time capsule’ with its own story to tell, from the largest surviving collection of Stuart Royal furniture to intricate tapestries.
Today these collections are at the mercy of dust and high humidity. Mould is appearing on portraits – causing the paint to lift and flake; fabrics are disintegrating because of the light; wood panelling is warping and the floors are damaged.
We have developed a three-stage plan to tackle the task ahead. It will be spread out over 10 years but each stage is significant to bring Knole – England’s Forgotten Palace – back to life.
Stage 1: April 2012 – February 2014
- Emergency repairs to tackle the root cause of damp, fix the leaking roof, stop movement and install an electrical submain.
Stage 2: March 2014 – February 2019
- Conservation work inside the rooms, removing the contents to a new on-site conservation studio where they will be conserved.
Stage 3: 2019 onwards
- Continue the conservation work to the rooms.
Each stage is crucial, and if one is not completed the next can not take place.