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The Curtain Rises project at Seaton Delaval Hall

The North Front of Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland
The North Front of Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Thanks to an award of £3.7 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, a further £3 million from the National Trust, and almost £750,000 in donations and fundraising, we've recently completed the four-year long Curtain Rises project. We've undertaken some major conservation work to the Hall, added new visitor facilities and have reintroduced some of the spectacle for which the theatrical and mischievous Delavals were known.

Restoring the drama of Seaton Delaval Hall

Since acquiring Seaton Delaval Hall in 2009, the National Trust has made significant repairs to the Hall which had fallen into disrepair following a serious fire in the 19th century. Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other donors, we've now completed the Curtain Rises project which has conserved the West Wing roof, Basement floors and spiral staircases for future generations.

As well as these repairs, we’ve introduced new visitor facilities and have been working with our local communities, students, artists and volunteers to bring the spirit of the Hall alive through new creative ways of telling its stories.

Highlights of The Curtain Rises project

External building shot of the West Wing at Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland
West Wing, Seaton Delaval Hall | © Colin Davison Photography

The West Wing

The West Wing was covered in scaffolding while we stabilised and re-roofed the entire wing, including replacing six chimneys. Inside the wing a new, breathable paint scheme was introduced throughout to remedy moisture issues, along with conservation-grade heating and light systems. The collection has been creatively re-presented to help visitors meet the family and discover some of the trickery and theatricality for which they were known.

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The Curtain Rises partnerships

At the heart of The Curtain Rises project was a partnership built on Seaton Delaval Hall’s theatrical and creative heritage. Rising Stars was a partnership between Northumbria University and Seaton Delaval Hall to work collaboratively with students to provide experience of working in the heritage sector, offer opportunities for soft skills development and enhance the hall’s offer.

Another key element of the project has been the Delaval Dialogues, working in close partnership with groups and schools from the local community.

Rising Stars

Rising Stars We’re worked with students from across a broad spectrum of subjects to increase our conservation work and create more opportunities for visitors to see the project work in action and subsequently help tell the stories of the Hall. Interior architecture students designed the Collections Store, where you can get a 360-view of our collection items. Conservation students undertook analysis of layers of wall paint in the West Wing. Tourism and Event management students researched and designed events celebrating the Hall's lavish and thearical past.

They've helped us explore digital interpretation, animation and oral histories, to enhance how you experience the Hall and discover its history.

As part of the project, we offered work placements to students to help them gain more knowledge and experience in the heritage sector.

Delaval Dialogues

Partnerships have formed with local schools and colleges, along with local residents and creative organisations to deliver a variety of activities on and off site. Highlights have included the introduction of Tots’ Plots, a pre-school gardening club, and Mischief and Mayhem where five schools and over 1,000 local families devised mischievous inventions for the Delavals to prank their party guests with!

The Curtain Rises timeline

22 April 2021

Capital works draw to a conclusion

Since the last update, we’ve moved towards the completion of the capital works phase. The ‘Delaval Playdium’ play area has opened, new paths have been in use, and you’ve been able to enjoy the new plating and playful installations in the southeast woodland. The conservation work to the Central Hall’s basement and spiral staircases has been completed, and will soon be open to the public, along with the Brewhouse Café and new toilets. Elsewhere on site, the last of the external scaffolding has been removed around the West Wing and our efforts now move to re-presenting the interiors after two years keeping them under wraps. 

The North Front of Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland
The North Front of Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland | © National Trust Images/James Dobson
The Parterre Garden at Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland


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