Oxburgh Hall's Roof Project

Project
Birds eye view of Oxburgh's roofline

A £6million project is underway at Oxburgh Hall, which will see repairs carried out to the roof, windows, chimneys and medieval gatehouse façade, securing Oxburgh’s future and the collection within. Our most ambitious conservation project to date, the work will take us until 2021 to complete. 

The project came about after the unexpected collapse of a dormer window in 2016, which after further investigation, exposed a structural weakness to the roofline. 

In order for us to carry out the work, a highly complex engineer-designed scaffold will be erected around Oxburgh Hall for the duration of the project, which has had to overcome the added complication that the 500 year old building is surrounded by a moat. 

Although the building will be wrapped in scaffolding whilst the work takes place, the next two years will be a really exciting time to visit Oxburgh Hall. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded us £132,900, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, to provide a new experience called Endurance that will enable you to delve deeper into Oxburgh’s story. 

We’re also extremely grateful to The Wolfson Foundation for supporting the project with £100,000 towards repairs, as well as the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development through the LEADER programme, the Sylvia Waddilove Foundation UK and The Constance Travis Charitable Trust. It's also thanks to many of you who have donated to our roof appeal or supported us through visiting or spending money in the tea-room, shop and bookshop. 

Roof repairs

Scaffolding on the roof at Oxburgh

17,000 roof tiles

The tiles now in need of repair are black-glazed pantiles, bought by the 4th Baronet to replace the originals in the 1770s. At the time of purchase he noted he required 50,000 pan-tiles and 800 ridge-tiles from Holland. Many are now weatherworn, cracked and damaged. 

A decorative chimney at Oxburgh Hall

27 chimneys

These elaborate chimneys are standing tall (if somewhat wonky) on the roof of Oxburgh Hall and with the help of Bulmer Brick & Tile Company, who have the original moulds, those in need of repair will have hand-made bricks created that look like they’ve always been there.

Dormer windows at Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk

14 dormer windows

We have 14 dormer windows of varying shapes and sizes, all of which need dismantling and rebuilding. The dormers were added in the 19th century and although they’ve held on well for the last 150 years, the collapse of one in 2016 made it clear they’re in need of some TLC.

Story of endurance

A picture of visitors investigating a project in progress

Behind the scenes

Whilst the work takes place, we’ll be offering a new series of daily tours in 2020. These will reveal more about the building and restoration work, as well as stories of the family and collection. There will also be new hard hat tours of the gatehouse.

Video

Take a look behind the scenes as we protect Oxburgh's collection

As work begins in earnest on Oxburgh Hall’s roof project, the house team have been beavering away behind the scenes to get everything ready to ensure the historic collection remains safe whilst the work takes place.

Latest updates

21 Feb 20

Work begins on the chimneys

The scaffolding is going up, which means we’re now getting greater access to the roof. Following the recent high winds, courtesy of Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis, we’ve brought forward our work to the chimneys, which involves carefully removing several of them from the roof. We need to close whilst this work takes place, but look forward to welcoming you again soon. We’re hoping to re-open fully on 14 March, when you’ll be able to see work underway and explore our new house experience (we can't wait to show you).

A decorative chimney at Oxburgh Hall

29 Jan 20

Conserving our leather wall-hangings

The Leather Conservation Centre have been on site and completed their work to remove the 18th century leather wall-hangings at the top of the west staircase, or protect them in situ where their removal hasn't been possible. This is because these delicate wall coverings are next to one of the dormer windows that will need dismantling, as part of the conservation project.  In order to minimise the impact on the leather, the protection materials have been carefully chosen for their waterproof and breathable qualities. Luckily, some of the leather had been mounted on canvas, which in turn was mounted on wood panels and these sections have been able to be removed in their entirety. We’ll be storing these panels on site in an environmentally monitored space for the duration of the project.   

A close up of the leather wall hanging at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

19 Dec 19

Packing up the collection

The invasive nature of this project will have a big impact on what we can keep in our attic spaces and, in some cases, the first-floor areas of the house. It means we need to decant thousands of collection items out of these spaces and find them new homes for the duration of the project. It's a mammoth task that will involve packing, labelling and moving items, as well as keeping records of what's been moved where. And it’s a real mix of items that we’ll need to find temporary homes for, including paintings, textiles, metal-ware, taxidermy, weaponry, ceramics and furniture.

Lady opening the door to the attic at Oxburgh Hall