Visiting the Basement at Seaton Delaval Hall
As part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported Curtain Rises project, Seaton Delaval Hall’s Basement has undergone extensive conservation work over the last two years. You can now visit the hall to see the results.
One of the main issues to be addressed by the project was that of damp, which was rife in the basement and was risking the long term structural stability of the whole of the central block. In the first instance the south portico steps (facing the south lawn and the obelisk) were lifted and damp proof membranes were installed to prevent water ingress, with the process repeated on the north side.
After 200 years of exposure to the elements, the floor had been reduced to little more than uneven earth that made the space cold, dark and inaccessible. The answer to the basement was relatively straightforward: remove the earth, lay a flagstone floor and introduce sympathetic lighting to enable Vanbrugh’s stunning architecture to speak for itself. In addition, a more accessible route into the basement has been installed beneath the south portico and the original brick floor and drainage channels uncovered to enable you to explore more of this beautiful space.
Look a little closer...
... Nestled in the corner of the Steward's Room you'll find the silver store. Locked for many years, it has been reopened and lighting installed to help you see where Sir Francis Blake Delaval carved his initials into the door after he inherited the hall. You can make out his initials 'FBD' and the date beneath -1753.
Over the course of the coming months further work will take place in the basement as part of the project as we introduce elements that will help tell more of the stories of Seaton Delaval Hall. The space will remain open to you as we work.