Much like our illustrious counterpart at Castle Drogo, Lindisfarne Castle has for many years suffered with water ingress, wind erosion, and other associated issues of wear and tear suffered by any historic house open to the public. Many of these problems can be monitored on a cyclical basis but every now and again, measures need to be taken to prevent more significant deterioration.
Here at Lindisfarne, we have been planning a major repair and renewal project for the last few years. In the past a series of different and counter-productive methods and materials have been used in the Castle and we hope from now on, we can begin introducing a level of consistency and quality in what we do here.
To this end, the first phase of the works has begun and this will consist of a series of trials around the Castle including window repairs to stop liquid water penetration, external masonry and pointing repairs to allow moisture to move in and out of the structure more easily, and internal finish repairs to replace damp plaster and failed paint work. In each of these areas we will be trying different methods to see which works best in which area, and giving them about 18 months (including a Holy Island winter) to produce the best possible results. From these trials we will then be able to update the our Conservation Management Plan with the best methods, and then being the process of implementing these methods throughout the building.
The project was given a massive boost when the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport gave a grant of £1.2 million to help us get this work done. We had already begun fundraising, but this financial aid has allowed us to not only get the trials going immediately, but do some aspirational works within the historic landscape surrounding the Castle. We will be looking at restoring stone walls shown in Edward Hudson’s Country Life photographs, investigating drainage around the Castle, repairing fencing around the site, and even restoring an old stock watering well shown in photographs from the period just after Lutyens’ renovation of the Castle. These jobs have long been on our ‘desirable’ list, but it is only with the injection of these funds that we are finally able to commission the work.
Main works began on 28th November 2016 with the handover of the Castle to the main contractor. The Castle was emptied of its contents - including the 2,000 items from the historic collection - and the contractors moved in. The completion date for the project is March 2018.