Renovating the exterior of the Tower of the Winds

A close up of the Tower of the Winds covered in scaffolding

After months of being cocooned in a specially designed octagonal scaffold structure, with a protective roof and weatherproof sheeting, the newly painted and restored Tower of the Winds has been unveiled.

As one of the most dominant and important monuments in Shugborough’s Grade 1 listed parkland, its conservation has been a priority for the Trust for some years. Paint analysis showed that a cocktail of limewash and oil-based paint was previously used which has resulted in the patchy exterior we see today.

The Tower of the Winds
Tower of the Winds, Shugborough, Staffordshire
The Tower of the Winds

In 2019, areas of the surface were cleaned off and new limewash paint samples were applied. Following that, we monitored these samples for 18 months to determine which sample performed best and is most suitable for re-painting the entire structure.

Thanks to a £70k grant from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and over £30k of fundraising by the second-hand bookshop team, the exterior has now been carefully stripped of old paint layers using high pressure steam, re-rendered in places and repainted to reflect the original stone effect paintwork that it would have had when first built.

Over 250 metres of cracks have been filled and leadwork around the roof gulley’s and lionhead spouts carefully repaired and replaced where necessary. Whilst working on the roof the team found signatures left by the original lead workers in 1765 and from a team working on the building in 1956, as per tradition, the current team has also left their mark for future generations to discover. We also took the opportunity to repair and redecorate sections of the window joinery and doors.

" “It’s fantastic that we have been able to restore the exterior of this much-loved building. It has been an iconic feature in the parkland at Shugborough for centuries and we hope that the work we have carried out will ensure that it is safe for centuries to come”."
- Hayley Mival

Built in 1765 under the instruction of Thomas Anson and based on drawings made in Greece by his friend James Stewart, the Tower of the Winds would once have sat atop a small island in a large parkland lake with bridges leading from either side. Today it sits on a grassy mound overlooking the parkland and is a key building, walked past by all visitors to the estate.

The newly restored Tower of the Winds
An octagonal folly in a green landscape
The newly restored Tower of the Winds