Our building works to the medieval barn and the brewhouse yard at Knole are just part of the HLF funded £19.8million project - the largest conservation project undertaken by the National Trust. We’re also repairing areas of the house to provide a more stable environment for our collections, carrying out urgently-needed conservation work to our paintings, textiles and furniture and opening abandoned rooms to the public.
The National Trust's largest conservation project
With HLF funding in place we are doing something very special at Knole. We're planning to improve the experience of your visit by opening more spaces. We hope our work will provide greater and more varied opportunities for involvement with our local community.
The process of converting the fifteenth century barn from its present use (for garaging and storage), into a new, professional conservation studio is well underway. Meanwile, the hayloft, never before opened to the public, is being remodelled as a lifelong learning centre for education, training and community use.
You'll be able to access the conservation studio from the Brewhouse Courtyard and will see, up close, the work of our conservation team. We'll carry out textile, furniture and painting conservation and invite conservators from other specialisms to work here. You'll also be able to try out conservation techniques and take part in conservation events.
After a fire in 1887, in which the barn lost its original, pitched, tiled roof, the existing flat roof with masonry crenellations was installed. We are restoring the appearance of the original, medieval roof. This will give further space in the barn so we can insert an extra floor (at the level of the former hayloft floor) to give vital space for the studio.
A new cafe
At the same time we're extending our cafe facilities. A new, single-storey building will wrap around the north and east walls of the Brewhouse Courtyard, with outdoor seating in the centre and a new rooftop terrace. As well as the main servery and kitchen, the new Brewhouse Cafe will also have a fast-service point just for hot drinks and snacks. These plans are an exciting start to the Knole project, which will see us through a series of building, refurbishment, conservation and community schemes up to 2018.
The Hayloft Learning Centre
Next door, in the seventeenth century haylofts, we are building a lifelong learning centre. The Hayloft will promote heritage skills and crafts through a variety of hands-on courses and reach out to more people in the community by offering talks and demonstrations.
We would love to hear what you would be interested in taking part in. Please complete our survey and help shape what workshops are offered at the Hayloft.
The Gatehouse Tower will open to the public in summer 2016. These were formerly the private rooms of Eddy Sackville-West, 5th Baron Sackville, novelist and music critic. Eddy was passionate about art, music and books and his bedroom and music room will be the first domestic spaces to open at Knole. Visitors will also be able to climb to the top of the tower, where the views of Sevenoaks are magnificent.
The attics at Knole will open to the public in 2018. These beautiful rooms will give visitors a behind-the-scenes glimpse of spaces that have been abandoned at Knole for years.
Working at Knole
Part of our mission will be to recruit more volunteers to help us with our work over the next 10 years. Because we will be opening new spaces, running training courses and working more closely with our community, we will have many new, rewarding and unusual opportunities here at Knole.
If you would like to find out more abut volunteering opportunities at Knole, contact our volunteer team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on 01732 467162.
Keeping Knole in good shape is something we take very seriously so there are often repairs and conservation projects we need to undertake in order to preserve this Kent treasure for future generations.