Mount Stewart project wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

Work continues to restore the central hall at Mount Stewart
Published : 06 Dec 2016

Mount Stewart has received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), through their Sharing Heritage programme, to support an exciting project focused on developing skills and understanding of conservation techniques.

The funding came through the HLF’s Sharing Heritage Programme which supports not-for-profit groups wanting to explore their community’s heritage.

Involving staff, volunteers, contractors and conservation experts, the project will use the restoration of the Scrabo stone floor in the iconic Central Hall to help facilitate professional and personal development in heritage conservation.

Supporting community engagement

The Central Hall at Mount Stewart is architecturally and symbolically the most important and impressive space in the house. Currently a mix of two eras, the decoration represents the 1930s with the familiar linoleum tiles being laid by Lady Mairi Bury in the 1970s. To complete the restoration of this impressive space; the modern tiling is being removed to unveil the original Scrabo sandstone flooring beneath, returning Mount Stewart's central hall to the heyday of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry, the 1920s-1950s. During the restoration process the Heritage Lottery Fund support will allow engagement with local construction and heritage communities as well as staff and volunteers to share methodologies and gain hands-on experience in stone conservation techniques.

Before and after - the Central Hall floor in Mount Stewart
Mount Stewart secures Heritage Lottery Fund funding for conservation project
Before and after - the Central Hall floor in Mount Stewart

Commenting on the award, Hannah McCloy, Visitor Experience Manager Mount Stewart said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. This project will allow us to develop skills and understanding of conservation techniques for staff, volunteers and the local community which can only enhance this amazing place”.

Paul Mullan, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, NI added ‘We were delighted to play a small role in the amazing restoration project that the National Trust has been undertaking at Mount Stewart. As with many traditional heritage skills, stone conservation and maintenance skills are in short supply in NI and HLF has committed a range of funding to try and address this shortage.

‘The National Trust has come up with an imaginative project to allow people to learn from their stone floor restoration work. The project will give up to 100 local crafts people and volunteers an opportunity to better understand heritage stone conservation by providing hands on sessions to improve their professional skills. It is thanks to National Lottery players that we can award funding to support these fascinating projects.’