Opening up the ruins
We’re starting work on an ambitious project to open the ruins to visitors. Over the next three years we’ll be conserving different parts of the ruins, making essential repairs and planning to open them up to visitors. We’ve already started work.
If you visit today you’ll see scaffolding in the Forecourt Garden allowing us to reach the remains of a chimney in the ruined Drawing Room which needs urgent attention and stabilising. From there we’ll be able to move on to reinstate a fallen ceiling inside the Entrance Hall and then, in 2018, we’ll continue with masonry repairs on what would have been the roof of the Great Hall.
In 2019 we’ll move onto masonry repairs to the ruined Library which once held one of the most important and largest botanic libraries in England after the Royal Horticultural Society and the British Museum. Some books held in the collection dated back to the 15th century.
What you’ll see
Once essential repairs are underway we can start to think about opening them up to visitors. Initially you’ll be able to get into the Great Hall which will give you a fantastic view of the garden as it was meant to be seen, from inside the house. In 2019 we plan to have a garden within the ruins at this point.
After the Great Hall the Balcombe Room will be one of the first rooms that will be reopened. Once a pleasant sitting room looking over the valley to the village of Balcombe, the room is now a shell. To make it safe the room needs a new floor and a new roof too, which in itself will cost £120,000.
Eventually the Balcombe Room will be the place where visitors will be welcomed into the house and will discover the different things they can see and do. All the ruined spaces will be opened up and although we can never return them to their former magnificence visitors will learn the stories that will bring them to life.
The rooms that are currently accessed from the main lawn will once again be joined up with the ruined Drawing Room, Library and Great Hall. Access to these rooms will be via a passage beyond the ruined Library, as it was before the fire of 1947, and the whole house will feel less fragmented.
How you can help
As you’d imagine a project of this scale costs a huge amount of money. As a charity the National Trust receives no statutory funding and we rely on our supporters’ generosity. You can help by:
Buying a £1 raffle ticket
Purchasing a book from our second- hand bookshop.
Making a donation
If you wish to make a donation – large or small – then click on the button at the base of this page