What is Clandon Park?

The Marble Hall at Clandon Park, Surrey

Clandon Park is a modern ruin. In 2015 a huge fire ripped through the Palladian mansion, destroying the upper floors and roof, and gutting the house. But the strong brick walls survived, and today Clandon Park is cloaked in scaffolding, sheltered from the wind and rain. Come inside and you’ll discover the bones of a great mansion stripped bare.

The house won’t stay this way for long because we’re working on plans to restore and remake Clandon Park. A visit today reveals a vital moment in the house’s history, before the house closes to the sky and uninterrupted open spaces become rooms once more.

The south front and parterre at Clandon Park before the fire
The south front and parterre at Clandon Park before the fire
The south front and parterre at Clandon Park before the fire

Before the fire 

Clandon Park was one of the country’s most complete examples of a Palladian mansion. Built for the Onslow family in the 1720s, the house featured magnificent interiors with original ceilings and marble fireplaces. Given to us in 1956, the house was re-presented in the late 1960s to showcase a collection of furniture, porcelain and textiles.

Fire at Clandon Park

In April 2015, a fire broke out. Everyone was evacuated from the building but the fire caused significant damage, effectively leaving the house a shell full of ash and debris. We immediately put together a core project team drawing from the wealth of expertise within the National Trust to begin to plan a way forward. 

Fire damaged spaces at the heart of Clandon Park
The fire damaged building at Clandon Park, Surrey
Fire damaged spaces at the heart of Clandon Park

A future for Clandon Park 

In the months that followed the fire, a huge salvage operation took place, slowly but surely removing huge timbers, dangling metal and pieces of rubble, to discover precious collection objects hidden in the ash. After careful deliberation, we announced in 2016 that Clandon would be rebuilt in some shape or form. The house would come back to life.

What will it be? 

Rather than a straightforward restoration, the unique circumstances at Clandon Park have demanded a new direction. We’re creating a hybrid space, both old and new, unlike any other National Trust place. We’re working with award winning architects Allies and Morrison who will lead a design team including Purcell, our conservation architects, to help us to do this carefully and sympathetically. 

Where are we now? 

As one of the UK’s biggest heritage projects, there’s a lot to consider and get right. We’re fine-tuning the masterplan for Clandon, working with experts in areas from fire safety and sustainability to programming and accessibility. One of the project’s key principles is collaboration, so we’re talking and listening with lots of people as we hone our designs and ideas. We’ll be sharing our first working plans with you as soon we can.