Our small tightly-knit group drew from the wealth of expertise and specialisms within our organisation. Comprising a project lead, myself - a curator, conservators, archaeologists, building surveyors, communications consultants and finance experts, as well as the Clandon Park property team, we started to face the enormous task at hand. We quickly appointed external advisers. Structural engineers, enabling contractors, security teams, waste management teams and a conservation architect all came on board to help turn our plans into reality.
Despite the almost overwhelming support and good wishes of so many and the sustaining deliveries of cake, those early days were hard. There was no electricity, water or shelter, let alone an internet connection or loo. Finding somewhere dry to work presented a problem; starting in an open gazebo, we quickly upgraded from a marquee to a caravan on the gravel sweep and then to a nearby cottage.
Whilst the fire had devastated all but a handful of rooms, the structure of the house remained solid giving us tremendous hope. However, the building still wasn’t safe to enter because of loose masonry, precarious timbers and dangling metal. Our contractors spent months working from crane baskets to clear this high level debris. Their painstaking work allowed archaeologists to safely enter the house, carefully excavating beautiful decorative plaster and objects that lay within the ash.