The Dome Project at Berrington Hall

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

During 2019 we took on an ambitious conservation project which Berrington desperately needed. The iconic glass dome which stands in the centre of the mansion was in desperate need of repair and we successfully restored it, thanks to funds raised by our supporters.

The dome project involved restoring and conserving Berrington's glass dome ceiling in the Staircase Hall of the mansion. After years of weathering and decay, we were finally able to give this dome the conservation work it needed, 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 showed signs of deterioration. There were leaks at certain times and the architectural features showed evidence of cracking, splitting, flaking and a general poor state of repair.

As well as this there were cracks in the flat lead roof surrounding the dome, which were 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 past year, however, thanks to the support of all of our visitors, we have been able to restore this architectural masterpiece. Protection was installed in the Staircase Hall and internal scaffolding was in situ up until February 2020, which allowed conservators access to the dome.

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

This work could 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 ensure it continues to thrive for generations to come.