The project gets underway at Seaton Delaval Hall
To enable the project to really get started we closed Seaton Delaval Hall from Monday 5 November 2018 until Saturday 16 February 2019. There’s a lot to do during the next 2 ½ years of this Heritage Lottery Fund-supported project, and to enable the contractors to bed in we’re closed for this short period. When we reopen in February things will look a bit different and you’ll be able to see more about the work we are doing. Here’s a little flavour of what we're up to while we’re closed.
Update June 2020:
The conservation construction works associated with the Curtain Rises project has continued throughout the Covid-19 crisis, albeit delivered through a much reduced team. Despite this there has, inevitably, been an effect on the works timeline. We are now working with our main contractor to review the construction programme and identify, where possible, how we can reduce the impact of Covid-19 on this part of the project.
We are concentrating our efforts on preparing the site for re-opening to visitors in the coming weeks, and are focussing on opening up our outdoor spaces for people to come and enjoy.
The NW Woodlands and new play area, along with the eagerly anticipated new Brewhouse café are all very near completion. We hope to open these spaces once it is safe to do so within the Government's social distancing guidelines. We are optimistic that the West Wing will still open in 2021 but later than anticipated.
Unfortunately, there are no Behind the Scenes tours planned at present. Our principal concern is to ensure the safety of our visitors, contractors, staff and volunteers on site as we move out of lockdown.
A big project like this requires a large team. The lead contractors carrying out the work need an office and welfare space that won’t impact on the building or collections, so they’re creating a temporary space known as a compound that will act as their base at the property. In addition, the staff offices will move of out of the West Wing and in to another building on site.
The West Wing
The West Wing closed in September to enable us to begin documenting the collection ahead of the decant – the removal of the collection from the wing - and we’re continuing to label, pack and move over 5,000 items to temporary stores. Our volunteer maintenance team have been hard at work creating these stores, providing around 200 metres of racking shelving for storing collection items. Once this work has finished the scaffolding will then go up to prepare for reroofing the wing, which will remain closed until 2020.
There’ll be heavy plant machinery on site while we’re closed so that we can do much of the messy work while it’s quiet. We’ll stabilise the wall next to the orchard and entrance to the car park and reconfigure the pedestrian entrance to the grounds from the car park.
Work will begin on the conversion of the brew house into a new café and we’ll begin roofing and infrastructure work to the building. There’s much to do before we can offer you a bacon butty so please don't expect it to be ready when we reopen in February, but as soon as we can we’ll let you know the planned opening date.
We’ll be preparing the landscape in the woodland areas ahead of works to install our play area and playful interventions. Again, as soon as we known when these will be ready we'll let you know! Stabilisation work will also start on the haha walls and bastions on the edge of the property.
As you can see, there’s a lot happening between now and next February. We’ll keep you posted throughout this closed period as to what’s happening and will look forward to welcoming you back in spring 2019.