Mount Stewart unveils newly restored Central Hall floor

The newly restored stone floor in the central hall at Mount Stewart

Mount Stewart's newly restored Central Hall floor has been unveiled in the final stage of an ambitious £8 million project to restore this magnificent mansion on the shores of Strangford Lough to its former glory.

For many visitors, the black and white tiles in the Central Hall at Mount Stewart had become an iconic feature of this historic estate and yet the monochrome floor was a fairly recent addition, being laid by Lady Mairi in the 1960s.

With funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund’s Sharing Heritage programme, donations and legacies, a team of expert conservators have painstakingly restored the Central Hall floor to how it would have looked back in the 1840s.

Time well spent

Costing £300,000, the floor restoration took around six months and included the removal of the linoleum tiles and underlying bituminous compound; cleaning and resurfacing of the original stone floor and the repair and replacement of stones where required.

The newly restored Scrabo stone floor at Mount Stewart
The newly restored Scrabo stone floor at Mount Stewart
The newly restored Scrabo stone floor at Mount Stewart

The finished result is spectacular and perfectly complements the recently restored stone coloured walls, giving the Central Hall an almost cathedral-like quality. 

Speaking ahead of the floor’s debut, project manager and regional conservator for the National Trust Claire Magill said:

‘This has been a complex conservation project involving a team of skilled specialists who carefully and expertly revealed and restored the magnificent Scrabo stone floor.

‘The colour of the pale stone allows the blue hues on the woodwork to shine, and the mirroring pattern of the floor and glass ceiling which was revealed during the project, is a testament to the intricate design of this fabulous building.

‘The Central Hall is at the heart of this wonderful building and it will be a pleasure to see the hall once again playing host to guests and social events.’

The successful unveiling of the floor is the latest in the line of high profile achievements for Mount Stewart.  After winning the Building Conservation Award at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Awards in 2016, the property is currently a nominee for Channel 4’s Great British Buildings: Restoration of the Year.