Mount Stewart to feature in C4's Restoration of the Year series

The award winning restoration project at Mount Stewart cost £8 million
Published : 29 Mar 2017

The majestic family home at Mount Stewart, Co. Down is amongst a number of Northern Irish buildings to feature in the second episode of the Channel 4 series ‘Great British Buildings: Restoration of the Year’ on Thursday 30th March 2017 at 8pm.

The series, which is hosted by Kevin McCloud and Dr Anna Keay, looks at a number of incredible restorations of historic buildings, and in the second episode, features  our very own Mount Stewart. The show will reveal the extensive work behind the £8million conservation project to restore the 80-room house to the glory days of the Twenties and Thirties, when Charles and Edith, the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry, were in residence.

Four year labour of love

Over the past four years the building has been stabilised, redecorated, rewired and replumbed, with all 150 windows removed, repaired and replaced. The quality of restoration and craftsmanship involved was so impressive that the project won the building conservation award at the 2016 RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Awards.

The project was only recently completed with the unveiling of the original Scrabo stone floor in the Central Hall that dates back to the1840s. 

The restoration project began in 2012 and was completed in 2017
The restoration project began in 2012 and was completed in 2017

Speaking in advance of Mount Stewart’s television appearance on Thursday Frances Bailey, Curator for the National Trust in Northern Ireland said: ‘We were absolutely delighted to learn that Mount Stewart was to be featured in ‘Great British Buildings: Restoration of the Year’. Anna Keay visited with the production crew and it was a real delight to show her and the team the extensive conservation and restoration works that were carried out as part of this ambitious project.

‘It was both helpful and encouraging to see the work through their eyes as they helped us realise just how much we had achieved. It’s just a shame that they visited before the work on the central hall floor had got underway, but the team certainly seemed excited at the prospect of the original stone floor being revealed, and I'm sure they would be impressed by the results.’

The ceiling in the central hall at Mount Stewart
The ceiling in the central hall at Mount Stewart during restoration works

The second episode of the TV show also explores other magnificent structures of the nineteenth century including the restoration of a Victorian music hall – Wilton’s in East London; a medieval-style castle in the Scottish Highlands; and two other Northern Irish restorations – Portico in Portaferry and Sion Stables in Sion Mills.  

At the end of the episode, Kevin and Anna will reveal which building the Judges from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors have shortlisted to be in the running for the ultimate accolade of ‘Restoration of the Year’, let’s hope it’s Mount Stewart! 

Tune into Channel 4, Thursday 30th March 2017 at 8pm.