An update on the Curtain Rises project

Family walks in the gardens at Seaton Delaval Hall

The National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported project to conserve Seaton Delaval Hall for the future is well underway. There’s a lot to do during the next two and a half years; here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

The project continues

The contractors working on the project have created a temporary space known as a compound to be their base at the property for the duration of the project. This space is within the grounds, so it doesn’t impact on the building or collections, but you’ll be able to see it when you come through the entrance of the site and make your way to the car park.

We’ve been carrying out some other preparatory works too, including the start of the work to stabilise the west wall of the walled garden. This involved taking down and rebuilding the 20,640 bricks that make up the wall near the visitor entrance and carefully rebuilding it.

Work has also started on the existing Brewhouse which will become our new café. There’s still a lot to do before we can offer you a bacon butty there, but our current café will be open as normal, and we’ll let you know when the new café will open as soon as we can.

The West Wing

The West Wing closed in September 2018 to enable us to document, remove and pack the collection before work started – all 5,000 items! Our volunteer maintenance built around 200 metres of racked shelving for storing the collection in their temporary stores and the house and collections team packed and labelled everything. Now that the hall is empty, scaffolding is up and reroofing well underway. The wing will remain closed until 2021.

From July, see the wing from a different perspective on one of our hard hat scaffolding climbs. Get up close to the action, learn what it takes to reroof a historic building and see Seaton Delaval Hall from a whole different angle.

During this summer conservation work to the south steps of the Central Hall will begin. A damp proof membrane is being inserted below the steps to enable the Basement to dry out.  Once this has happened, we'll be able to start further conservation work in the Basement and also carry out critical conservation work to the two manificent spiral staircases. 

The Charles II bust is wheeled away to temporary stores as part of the West Wing decant process.
Charles II bust is wheeled away during the West Wing decant
The Charles II bust is wheeled away to temporary stores as part of the West Wing decant process.

What we’ve been doing outdoors

As part of the project we’re undertaking woodland management works to improve the health of the landscape and restore lost elements of the eighteenth century design. The curved Lost Wing Path, which traces the outline of the South East wing which was lost as a result of the fire of 1822, has now completed and opened to the public.

We’re also well into the work to care for the ha-ha walls and bastions – the circular stone elements at each of the corners of the wall. Work has now completed on the North East bastion - the one in the car park - and the South East bastion and is ongoing in the North West bastion in the Parterre. Each of the bastions is being strengthened by inserting metal supporting rings at the top and base which will pull the stone work in to stop it from buckling.

As you can see, there's a lot of work continuing and the property is constantly changing. To find out more about the latest activity join a free Spotlight Tour - every open day at 12.30pm - or visit the Project Hub to view the Timeline, see updated drone footage and watch videos of the ongoing activity.