Opening the basement at Clandon Park
In 2018 we opened up Clandon Park’s basement spaces for the first time since the fire, giving you the chance to get a brand new perspective on the house. This walkway will lead you on an atmospheric journey, deep into the lowest and most fire-damaged spaces at the heart of this grand Palladian mansion.
Your journey begins at the North Courtyard which pre-fire visitors to Clandon will remember as the entrance to the National Trust shop and restaurant. The basement corridor runs through the heart of the building and walking this route now gives you the clearest opportunity to view the contrasting levels of fire damage in different areas of the house.
Deep into the house
Beginning at the less damaged north end of the basement, the corridor passes a succession of rooms, which have experienced a variety of different uses since the house was built in the 1730s. On your right hand side you’ll reach the undercroft, a large vaulted space directly beneath the Marble Hall, most recently used as a seating area for the restaurant.
The beautiful, and brilliantly engineered, vaulted brickwork here, and in the Saloon undercroft opposite, played a major part in the survival of the marble floors in the rooms above. A new display here, charts the design challenges and key questions that we’re considering during this hugely complex project. From a protected viewing area you’ll have sight of the full extent of the damage for the first time, with dramatic, vertical views from basement floor to scaffolding roof and each floor in between. Towards the south end of the house further remarkable views and unseen angles reveal themselves.
Collection items on display
A new selection of items from Clandon Park’s salvaged collection are now on display in the exhibition space. You'll see an array of objects rescued from the house in the months after the fire including a set of porcelain Chinese gods, glistening remnants of an 18th century glass chandelier and a sword worn by William, 4th Earl of Onslow when he was Lord-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria.
The selection of objects reflects our current work with the collection, as we start to review each item and its conservation needs. We're also reviewing each item’s significance to Clandon Park and how these stories can be shared in the future.
" By opening up the basement, we’re creating a new space for discussion about Clandon’s future in an area of the house where the extent of the damage is at its starkest."
This year we want to continue to show you what we’re doing at Clandon Park, why we’re doing it and how decisions are made. Previous visitors to Clandon Park have been able to see the Saloon, State Bedroom and Marble Hall. These are amongst the most significant rooms in the house and areas which we felt visitors should see straightaway. By opening up the basement, we’re creating a new space for discussion about Clandon’s future in an area of the house where the extent of the damage is at its starkest.
The restoration of Clandon Park represents one of the largest, most complex conservation projects undertaken by the National Trust in a generation. In this phase we’re appointing architects, engineers, surveyors and other specialists we need to help us, carrying out further investigations, refining requirements, developing concept designs and looking in detail at cost and programme. It’s essential that we continue to be thorough in every area, so that the best decisions are made for Clandon Park.
Putting people at the centre of our vision
Central to our vision to remake Clandon must always be you, our visitors and supporters. Visiting the basement spaces will give you the chance to feed your ideas into our decision making process.
It's so important that we hear your thoughts on a number of key questions: Who will come to the reborn Clandon Park? How do you want to feel when you’re here? Who will you bring with you? What will you want to see? How can we make Clandon Park ‘for ever, for everyone’? How can Clandon provide people with the knowledge and specialist skills to sustain heritage to the highest standards, benefitting other places?
We hope that you’ll visit and see this special place for yourself, before building work gets underway and the chance to see the bones of this important house becomes more restricted. Most importantly, we’d like you to join the conversation and help shape our plans for Clandon’s future.