Hardwick Hall Building Repairs Project

Hardwick Hall with scaffolding - part of the conservation building project

Hardwick Hall – the building

Grade I listed Hardwick Hall is one of the earliest English interpretations of Italian Renaissance architecture and stands as one of the greatest of all Elizabethan houses. It was built (by Robert Smythson) in 1590-9 for Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury. Huge grids of glass are used in this rectangular, turreted building, leading observers to rhyme ‘Hardwick Hall, more window than wall’. Each tower is crowned with a balustrade and each of the 3 main storeys has a ceiling higher than the one below. 

A constant state of repair

Hardwick was built using soft sandstone, initially quarried from the estate, and its elevated position leaves it open to the elements. The wind and water continually take their toll and the stonework on this 400 year-old building is constantly deteriorating. The level of upkeep is such that there have been masons working on the hall ever since it was built!

The project

For centuries, Hardwick has needed a constant programme of repair and replacement of its walls, balustrades, roofs and windows. As part of this work, Hardwick is currently working to a ten-year repair and maintenance plan. This plan of essential repairs ensures that Hardwick is wind proof, water-tight and not rapidly deteriorating – thereby conserving this outstanding building and protecting its internationally renowned contents. 

Where are we now?

The first five years of this plan have already been undertaken. The timeline below details information about Hardwick’s building repairs project. We'll regularly update this page with news about our progress on ensuring that one of our greatest heritage assets survives for future generations to see. 

Latest updates

02 Dec 20

West Loggia ceiling following removal of modern plasterwork

The entrance to the Hall, looking up, looks a little different here as the modern plasterwork has been removed to inspect the timberwork beneath. Some timbers have needed to be replaced following erosion. Some sections of the original timbers were found to be still in-situ with no evidence for having been lifted since their initial fixing in the 1590s.

West Loggia roof repairs at Hardwick Hall

02 Sep 19

East Loggia Column

The Hardwick stone masons have been busy yet again this month, and one of our columns on the East Loggia is now boasting a new base, collar, and capital. The next stage of the work is for a specialist to work to the plaster on the drums of the column. As you can see from the photo on this particular column there is more than a finishing coat required!

Hardwick building repairs project - column base replacement

01 Aug 19

East Loggia Column

Back in February we posted a picture of the stone masons working on a column base for one of the East Loggia columns. Well here it is in place. It really shows how the old bases have been effected by the elements.

Hardwick buildings project - column base replacement