The South Terrace at Cliveden

The South Terrace at Cliveden

After 350 years of use, time has taken its toll on the South Terrace and we're undertaking a six million pound conservation project to restore it to its former glory.

Time catches up with the Terrace

The terrace itself is thought to be the oldest surviving building at Cliveden, with some alterations and repairs along the way it has survived two fires and over three centuries of Cliveden wind and rain.
Some of this damage you can see as you walk on the Terrace, for example parts of the stone balustrade are missing or held together, but there is also considerable work to be done underneath to support the structure itself.
The Terrace has also suffered from significant water damage caused by a faulty drainage system. Water has been soaking into the masonry, accelerating the decay of time.

Then and now

In the 1670s the Duke of Buckingham embarked on a major project to build the first house at Cliveden. However, before he could start on the house, he had to level the hill top creating the Parterre and build the Terrace that rises above. Since then the Terrace has provided the foundations for three mansions and is the perfect spot from which to admire the views that Buckingham fell in love with.
Significant alterations were made to the terrace façade and stair as part of Charles Barry’s 1851 designs, which were drawn up for the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland after the second fire at Cliveden destroyed the majority of the house above. Barry intended the sweeping design to make the gardens feel like an additional room in the great house, and for the owners and their guests a central part of the Cliveden experience, as the gardens are today.
The South Terrace restoration, Cliveden.
The Terrace surrounded by scaffolding at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Conservation in action

It’s not only the gardens that are coming to life this spring for visitors now have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of royalty and celebrity on the iconic South Terrace steps which lead down to Cliveden’s Parterre. The stairs have been closed for nearly two years.
The stairs will be open until the summer when they will be closed temporarily once again so that the flagstones on top of the terrace can be taken up and re-laid and the defective drainage system, which caused some of the deterioration to the Terrace itself, can be replaced.
Along with the conservation work to the stairs and Cockerell Pavilion over the past two years, the western side of the terrace has been repaired and repairs to the brickwork and iron structure inside the ferneries completed.
The ornate iron gates and grilles to the sounding chamber and ferneries are currently away for specialist repair by a blacksmith and gilding and on their return will form a significant eye-catching feature. Work to the east flank of the terrace and the brick vaulted sounding chamber will follow.
The South Terrace project is scheduled to run until 2017.