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!
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.