New plans for Clandon Park reveal X-ray view of a great house
The fire at Clandon Park was the worst in the Trust’s history, and we’re delighted to reveal our new plans for the house, following years of forensic investigation and research and care.
Clandon Park: A great house laid bare
Clandon Park has always been a unique and special place. Over the years, it was the backdrop to many important memories for many people. As we have cared for the building since the fire, we have come to recognise the many ways it remains a great house today, and its potential to come to life once more, as its story evolves.
We’ve welcomed over 70,000 people to experience the fire-damaged house, and their responses have taught us how powerful and evocative Clandon Park is in its laid bare state. We’ve seen artists, scientists, engineers, designers, tradespeople and young children, all gasping in awe. Our new vision builds on these responses to celebrate what survives and makes Clandon unique today.
The many hands who made the house
Since the fire, curators, archaeologists, craftspeople and other specialists have learnt so much from and about the surviving house. The fire-damaged spaces created by the fire have revealed new stories about how country houses were made, and by who. Hidden histories of the brickmakers, stonemasons, metalworkers, joiners, plasterers and many other craftspeople have been revealed by the layers of the building stripped back by the fire.
- Our new plans will see most of the interior of Clandon Park thoughtfully conserved in its fire-damaged state, offering people a unique ‘X ray view’ of how country houses were made
- Suspended walkways and platforms will give visitors new views and dramatic perspectives through the house where floors once were
- A new roof with public terraces and roof lights will give breath-taking views down into the house from above and out across surrounding countryside
- The Speakers’ Parlour which survived the fire will be repaired, creating a counterpoint to other rooms
- The external walls and windows of the house are being restored, with work already underway by leading heritage craftspeople
- The new Clandon will be a unique place to explore how great houses were made, not only physically but also socially and culturally. It will be space for a backdrop for a dynamic programme of events, exhibitions and activities, some created with communities connected to the house
Our plans are grounded in the house’s history and character, and its surviving and fascinating 18th-century fabric. They give Clandon Park a distinct purpose for the future, as a place to explore and celebrate the craft skills and people who made this and similar great houses across the country.
" Clandon today is the closest you can get to an 18th century building site. It’s like being given a key to decipher what’s behind every other country house you visit."
Exploring new histories through our saved collections
The house’s interior will become active spaces again, given a new lease of life through events, exhibitions, and other creative uses. This will include redisplaying parts of our saved collections. Approximately 600 items from the original collection were saved from the house during the fire, including paintings, furniture, ceramics, and textiles. A creative approach will be taken to re-displaying these within the house, using them to illuminate craft and art processes, the skill of their makers, and to tell stories of the many people who lived and worked at Clandon Park.
Expert craftspeople are currently repairing the exterior of the house – its historic brickwork, arches and doorways – in what is itself one of the Trust’s largest ever conservation projects. Once these are completed, the building will look from the outside as it did before the fire.
Claire, who started volunteering at Clandon Park in 2002 said: 'I very much enjoyed my time being a room steward in this beautiful and very special house. After volunteering for so long I had become very attached to the house. I am very happy with the new plans. I like the decision to conserve the house as it is.'
'I think the brickwork is breathtaking. Covering the walls with plaster would prevent visitors seeing the amazing workmanship. The arched doorways and bricked up doorways should be seen, and the new stories that have been revealed at Clandon should be enjoyed.'
" After volunteering for so long I had become very attached to the house. I am very happy with the new plans. I like the decision to conserve the house as it is."
Many thanks to all of our volunteers, members and supporters for their ongoing interest in and support of our work at Clandon. If you would like to visit us to hear more about our plans, please come along to our open weekend on 16 and 17 July. You'll be able to meet members of the project team, hear about our plans and meet some of the craftspeople caring for the house.