Room for Gloom: Restoring Kedleston's Hermitage

Hermitage on the Long Walk at Kedleston Hall as it looks today

With planning permission secured, we're busy preparing to restore the Hermitage on Kedleston's Long Walk this summer.

Over the past year, we've talked to internal and external experts about what we should do with the Hermitage. It is a very important building, not only because it's the only surviving built 'incident' on the Long Walk, but also because historic hermitages often don't survive.

Room for gloom? Artist's impression of how the Hermitage might look in the landscape
Artist's impression of Kedleston's Hermitage in the landscape
Room for gloom? Artist's impression of how the Hermitage might look in the landscape

We hope that by restoring this little building, you'll be able to experience the Hermitage just like an 18th-century visitor would have experienced it. It will once again be a place to relax on your walk and to contemplate what wonders may lie ahead.

The building works will take place over the summer and we hope to be done by mid-October. We also have to do a fair amount of ground levelling work. This will take longer, perhaps as much as three years.

The restoration of the Hermitage is also the first step towards returning the Robert Adam-inspired Long Walk to its former glory.

Latest updates

31 Oct 16

Thatching in action

Did you miss Roger's thatching demonstrations in September? Here's your opportunity to learn more about how the Hermitage was given back its thatched roof. This is the latest of Gavin Repton's videos on the restoration of the Hermitage at Kedleston

03 Oct 16

The thatching is done!

We're really excited about what a lovely little building the Hermitage is turning into. Roger has finished the thatching and doesn't it look fantastic? The edges are supposed to look a bit scraggly to fit in with the rustic look of the stone and gypsum. Gavin has also been on site to film Roger's work and is putting the final touches to another video, which we'll post as soon as it's done. So what's next? The door and windows will be put in and the inside walls are going to be plastered. Then there is the tidying up...

Thatched roof on the Hermitage, Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire

26 Sep 16

What glass for the windows?

One question we were still debating is what glass to use for the windows of the Hermitage. From historic building records, we know that there was crown glass in the windows in about 1790. Archaeological evidence has shown that the windows were leaded, which meant that small glass panes were used. Crown glass is hand-blown and varies in thickness. The thinnest parts of the sheet are the edges and this was regarded as the highest quality and most expensive glass. For windows it would be cut into small shapes and put into a leaded frame. Because we are trying to use materials that we know where used in building the Hermitage, we had to find a manufacturer who still made the glass by hand rather than machine. The reason is that machine-made glass looks too modern and polished. However, our architect found one company that still makes the glass the traditional way. Isn't it beautiful?

Crown glass sample for the Hermitage at Kedleston