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Previous projects at Florence Court

Dining Room at Florence Court, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Dining Room at Florence Court | © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Regular conservation projects take place at Florence Court to take care of this place. The conservation of historic structures and restoration of individual features ensures that Florence Court can be enjoyed by everyone for ever. Take a look at some of the projects from recent years.

Painting conservation project

In April 2018, the team at Florence Court embarked on a two-week painting conservation project. This was the single largest in-situ conservation work that undertaken in Fermanagh for several years, and was achievable in part thanks to support from the Esme Mitchell Trust, a charity that supports the arts, heritage and culture in Northern Ireland.

Specialist teams

The project involved specialist conservators Eeva Kukkoken and Lucy Critchlow from Critchlow and Kukkoken Ltd, a paintings conservation company based in Sheffield, travelling to Fermanagh to spend two weeks treating the selected portraits from Florence Court. They were supported by local art handling company Grallagh Studios, who specialise in working with fine art pieces and have worked in many Northern Ireland National Trust properties.

A successful project

Over the two weeks of working on-site, the team collectively treated 31 paintings, both the canvases and frames. An outcome that far surpassed expectations with the team at Florence Court who were thrilled to see the paintings restored in such fantastic condition. Some of the conservation work took place during open hours, meaning that visitors also got to see the work in progress and could experience some of the work the National Trust does ‘behind the scenes’ to keep our places and collections looking their best for everyone, for ever.

A restored water feature in the Walled Garden

The beautiful water feature in the Walled Garden at Florence Court underwent essential restoration to ensure that the water fountain can be enjoyed by future generations.

Two adults and three children are walking between flowerbeds at Florence Court, County Fermanagh. They are all smiling and one child is pointing at a flowerbed blooming with orange flowers.
The Walled Garden at Florence Court | © National Trust / Bernie Brown

After having to be covered back in November 2017 to protect it from further damage, the announcement of the restoration project meant the water feature in the Walled Garden at Florence Court could be uncovered and enjoyed by visitors once again.

This stunning water feature dates to the early 19th century and has continued to undergo extensive conservation work, with external contractors repairing weather damage to the rim where a considerable chunk had been broken and decayed. Several large cracks in the bowl have now been filled, allowing the bowl to retain water and restore the fountain to its former glory, and making it operational again. At a cost of £3,000, thanks to our members and supporters for enablling us to carry out our vital conservation work to keep this place special.

Conserving the sawmill

Thanks to the support of our members and supporters, we were able to conserve the original 1848 water-powered sawmill at Florence Court. The flow of water coming from the Mill Pond that powers the waterwheel was stopped as damage had been identified on the bearings and cogs that help turn the giant waterwheel.

The sawmill and water wheel at Florence Court, County Fermanagh
The sawmill and water wheel at Florence Court, County Fermanagh | © National Trust Images/Wilbert McIlmoyle

There was a build-up of pressure on the bearings and the existing drive shaft was badly worn. The bearings were damaged beyond repair, so new housings and complete units were required to replace them. The main gear cog on the water side of the drive shaft also had extensive ware and damage to the teeth, and so they also needed to be replaced.

Repairing exisiting parts wasn’t an option so the decision was made to replace all broken and damaged parts A new drive shaft was made completely from scratch and turned on a huge metal lathe. To make the fly wheel/ear cog, we had to send the original away to a specialist pattern maker.

Thanks to the restoration, the drive shaft and wheel should run more smoothly as the units are sealed to ensure they last longer. The new gear cog should last longer too, however the teeth on the outer wheel are substantially worn, meaning they will wear faster and unevenly than it would if they were replaced at the same time. On your next visit, why not come along and see the giant waterwheel that powers the sawmill back in working order?

Gardener working in the Walled Garden at Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire


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