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The Hardwick Hall Building Repair Project

Scaffolding on the roof during conservation work at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
Scaffolding on the roof during conservation work at Hardwick Hall | © National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

A ten-year repair and maintenance plan is ongoing to conserve and project Grade I listed Hardwick Hall from the wind and water that has continually taken its toll on the soft sandstone it was built from. Read on to find out more the work being untaken to save Hardwick for future generations.

Hardwick Hall – the building

Hardwick Hall is one of the earliest English interpretations of Italian Renaissance architecture and stands as one of the greatest of all Elizabethan houses.

It was built by Robert Smythson in 1590-9 for Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury.

Huge grids of glass are used in this rectangular, turreted building, leading observers to rhyme ‘Hardwick Hall, more window than wall’. Each tower is crowned with a balustrade and each of the three main storeys has a ceiling higher than the one below.

A constant state of repair

The sandstone Hardwick is built from was initially quarried from the estate, and its elevated position leaves it open to the elements. The 400-year-old building is constantly deteriorating from the toll taken from the elements. The level of upkeep is such that there have been masons working on the hall ever since it was built!

The project

For centuries, Hardwick has needed a constant programme of repair and replacement of its walls, balustrades, roofs and windows. As part of this work, Hardwick is currently working to a ten-year repair and maintenance plan. This plan of essential repairs ensures that Hardwick is wind proof, water-tight and not rapidly deteriorating – thereby conserving this outstanding building and protecting its internationally renowned contents.

Where are we now?

The first five years of this plan have already been undertaken. The timeline below details information about Hardwick’s building repairs project. We'll regularly update this page with news about our progress on ensuring that one of our greatest heritage assets survives for future generations to see.

Key updates from the project



Plasterwork in the entrance to the Hall was removed to inspect the timberwork underneath. Some timbers needed to be replaced following erosion. Some sections of the original timbers were found to be still in-situ with no evidence for having been lifted since their initial fixing in the 1590s.

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