Heritage Lottery Fund helps put the drama back into Seaton Delaval Hall
National Lottery funding will help repair Seaton Delaval Hall and put the drama back into Northumberland’s most flamboyant ‘party’ house.
Seaton Delaval Hall, the 18th century former home of the theatrical Delaval family, is set to enter a new chapter in its life thanks to National Lottery players across the UK.
We've been awarded £3.7million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to bring new life to Seaton Delaval Hall for visitors and the community. The funds will also help to repair and conserve this Baroque masterpiece.
The Hall was once the venue for the Delaval family’s lavish costume balls, spectacular theatrical productions and elaborate practical jokes. Drunken guests would awake to find their rooms had been turned upside down with furniture fixed to the ceiling. A mechanical bed would give way to drop the unwary occupant into a sobering bath of freezing water. And walls were said to disappear just as guests were undressing.
Built by Sir John Vanbrugh, the architect behind Blenheim Palace, the Hall’s design was a fitting backdrop to the family’s extravagant lifestyle. Over the years however, and following serious damage from a fire in the 19th century, parts of the Hall fell into disrepair.
" Seaton Delaval Hall is an architectural gem, one of Vanbrugh’s greatest works. While we’re carrying out this important work, we’ll be looking at how we can bring the drama of the Delaval family alive for every visitor. We’ll be working with community groups, artists, students and volunteers to develop an experience befitting this spectacular place."
Since acquiring Seaton Delaval Hall in 2009, we have been carrying out critical building repairs to ensure the survival of one of Vanbrugh’s greatest works.
Yet despite significant investment, further urgent work is needed to conserve parts of the roof, basement floors and circular staircases. As well as repairs, we'll be installing new visitor facilities. And we can't wait to work with artists, local communities, students and volunteers to develop ambitious new exhibitions, events and experiences in keeping with the flamboyance of the Hall and the colourful stories of its past.
We are putting £3million of our own charitable funds towards this ambitious project, which will see the installation of a new basement floor, a new roof for the west wing and new interpretation which will help tell the stories of the Delaval family. Improvements to visitor facilities are also in the pipeline with a café, toilet facilities and a new woodland play area.