The house suffered extensive damage in the blaze which ripped through the building. The roof and floors collapsed and thousands of items are feared to have been lost in the flames. Everyone was evacuated and there were no reports of injuries.
All but one room – the Speakers’ Parlour, which celebrated the three members of the Onslow family who were Speakers for the House of Commons – was destroyed. Significant items from the collection were however saved during the initial salvage operation. These include the hangings of the state bed and a number of personal Onslow family items.
Next steps on site
Work to secure the building for further salvage work to take place and allow the fire investigation to be completed is in progress and parts of the building are now safe to enter. This involved using two vast cranes to remove loose debris to prevent it falling and causing further damage.
The painstaking task to search for items amongst the rubble and assess architectural design features is underway in parts of the house, including the Saloon. It won’t be possible to confirm the full extent of the damage to the house or a full list of items saved or lost until the salvage operation is completed.
Looking to the future
Despite the many uncertainties, we’re optimistic that Clandon Park has a long-term future. ‘We’re hopeful that one day we can rebuild Clandon but quite how, when and in what form is far from certain at this stage,’ said Dame Helen Ghosh, our Director General.
‘As we get more information on the extent of the damage, we will be able to take a clearer view on the potential options for Clandon,’ she added. ‘We would like to reassure all those people who love Clandon as much as we do that it will continue in some shape or form in the future.’
Thousands attend garden open days
We welcomed over 3,500 visitors back to Clandon Park for a series of six garden open days during September and October 2015, including a free event to coincide with the Heritage Open Days festival in September.
We wanted to give people a last chance to view the shell of the building, before it’s covered by scaffolding for several years, and tell the story of Clandon Park – before the fire, the salvage operation on the night of the fire and the work currently taking place. We were also delighted to hear people’s memories of the house.