Lifeline grant received for Blickling

A decorative elongated hexagon in one corner of the ceiling
Published : 29 Mar 2021 Last update : 26 Mar 2021

Blickling has received a financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help fund essential repair work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Protecting heritage sites

Lifeline grants from the Culture Recovery Fund are designed to protect heritage sites and ensure that jobs and access to culture and heritage in local communities are protected during the months ahead.

£20,000 was awarded to repair cracks to the historic lime plaster ceiling of the Upper Ante Room and structurally stabilise the central pendant. Inspections carried out in early 2020 highlighted defects to the 17th century ceiling and raised concern for the condition of the pendant, which was showing signs of movement. Urgent remedial action was advised, and a covered walkway was constructed to keep visitors safe before the house was shut in April 2020. The Culture Recovery Fund grant enabled full inspection of the timber structure supporting the pendant, at a time when the building could not open, and was crucial in preventing further damage or decay.

Grants are being allocated to cherished heritage sites, like Blickling Estate, across the country to cover urgently needed maintenance and repairs. This vital funding comes from a part of the Culture Recovery Fund called the Heritage Stimulus Fund and is administered on behalf of the government by Historic England.

As well as rescuing precious heritage buildings in need, the injection of cash will protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors working in the sector.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities. We’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it's there for future generations to enjoy.”

Blickling Estate attracts around 200,000 visitors a year. The gardens and parkland have remained open for local pre-booked visits throughout the pandemic, but the house has been closed for most of this time.

The Grade 1 listed manor house was constructed in around 1619-27 and remodelled in the late 18th century. The Upper Ante Room, located between the Long Gallery Library and South Drawing Room, has a heavily embellished ceiling, which measures approximately 7m x 7m. It consists of a large central octagon with eight decorated panels surrounding a pendant with floral decorations. Each corner has an elaborate arrangement of hexagonal and squared panels and each side of the coving features three masked heads. Blickling Hall is expected to re-open on 17 May 2021, as soon as government restrictions allow, when visitors will once again be able to admire the beautiful Upper Ante Room, as well as the 17th century Mortlake tapestries which adorn its walls.

Heather Jermy, General Manager at Blickling Estate, said: “Along with many other organisations and charities the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the National Trust’s finances which we use to carry out vital conservation work. We are, therefore, delighted to receive this funding from the Culture Recovery Fund, which has provided much needed support to our ongoing aim of looking after this amazing estate, and in doing so, ensuring it is here for people to experience and enjoy for generations to come.”

Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive said: “Historic places across the country are being supported by the Government’s grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding is a lifeline which is kick-starting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of COVID-19.

“It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.”

Culture Recovery Fund

The government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund is designed to secure the future of Britain’s heritage sites as well as museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

£1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund is divided into categories for Heritage, Arts and Film. In England, it is administered on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport by the arms-length bodies Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and the British Film Institute. 

Funding for Heritage

The £50m Heritage Stimulus Fund is administered at arms-length by Historic England

The £88m Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage is a joint fund, allocated at arms-length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

 

Historic England

Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.