The Dome Project at Berrington

Berrington's glass dome from below with it's classic plasterwork captured

This year, we've embarked on an ambitious conservation project which Berrington desperately needs. The iconic glass dome which stands in the centre of the mansion is in desperate need of repair, and we want to share with you how we intend to do it.

We are embarking on a new project throughout 2019 to restore and conserve Berrington's glass dome. After years of weathering and decay, we are finally able to give this dome the conservation work it needs, thanks to the help of you, our supporters and visitors.

In 1785 Thomas Harley employed Henry Holland to begin designing Berrington Hall. Influenced by the Neo-classical French architectural styles that were fashionable in this period, he made the exterior of the mansion very simple. The interior however, was filled with vibrancy and extravagant designs throughout.

Berrington's brightly coloured landing
Berrington's landing, showing the scagiola pillars and the classic statues
Berrington's brightly coloured landing

Among these designs was the iconic glass dome which, to this day, still floods the main staircase with light. This is said to be a demonstration of Holland’s mastery of complex and dramatic spatial effects.

This dome, at the time, was a statement of Thomas Harley’s wealth, as well as his taste for the contemporary fashions. Situated in the centre of the mansion it has been a main feature of Berrington Hall and a focal point for various activities and visitors.

Unfortunately in recent years the dome has shown signs of deterioration. There are leaks at certain times and the architectural features are showing evidence of cracking, splitting, flaking and a general poor state of repair.

As well as this there are cracks in the flat lead roof surrounding the dome, which are allowing water in and cause cracking to the plasterwork ceiling beneath.

Discover Georgian architecture at its finest
Berrington's pillars on the upstairs landing. A mixture of bright yellows and browns mixed in together
Discover Georgian architecture at its finest

This year, however, thanks to the support of all of our visitors, we are able to embark on a project to restore this architectural masterpiece. Protection has been installed in the Staircase Hall and from Saturday 25 May you'll be able to see the internal scaffolding in situ, which will allow conservators access to the dome. See this vital restoration work in action on your next visit. 

As well as protecting the dome this project will help to protect the interior of Berrington. All of this work will also help to preserve the ceilings and plasterwork within Berrington, by relieving them of the pressure that had been caused by 240 years of weathering.

This work can only be undertaken thanks to the help of you, our supporters. With this conservation work we can provide Berrington with the care that it deserves to make sure that it’s in place for ever, for everyone.