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Raising the roof at Ickworth

A view of the Rotunda surrounded by scaffolding at Ickworth, Suffolk, with a wide path leading to the Rotunda and neat topiary hedges running alongside the path
The Rotunda covered in scaffolding at Ickworth | © National Trust Images / Jemma Finch

In 2020, Ickworth completed a major conservation project to repair the roof of the Rotunda, a classic Italianate building which has been standing proud in the Suffolk countryside since 1795. By undertaking a programme of urgent repairs, we’ve ensured the future of this iconic building for years to come. Find out more about the Ickworth Uncovered project.

Repairing the Rotunda roof at Ickworth

The multimillion-pound project to repair the Rotunda roof was the single biggest piece of conservation work that Ickworth has ever seen, and was made possible thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and the Wolfson Foundation, alongside a fundraising appeal and the support of National Trust members.

Before construction work could begin, we moved 2,500 collection items into storage to keep them safe during the work – which including mending leaks, adding lightning protection and re-tiling the entire roof of the Rotunda.

As the Rotunda was covered in scaffolding for the duration of the work, we named the project Ickworth Uncovered, in anticipation of the day the Rotunda would be revealed again.

‘Ickworth Uncovered was the largest conservation project that the property has ever untaken. The major repairs to the roofs have helped safeguard Ickworth and its highly significant collection for years to come, as well as helping us to appreciate fully the craftsmanship of this unique building.’

– Chloe Woodrow, Property Curator at Ickworth

The project is completed

Throughout August and September 2020, the last areas of roof repairs were completed, and the scaffolding was removed, revealing the Rotunda for the first time in over a year.

You can now see the Rotunda in all its glory on a visit to Ickworth. To follow the progress of Ickworth Uncovered from start to finish, read the project timeline below, which was updated at key moments of the project.

Key moments of Ickworth Uncovered

31 Aug 2020

The scaffold is removed to reveal the Rotunda

After the last areas of the roof were finished, we started to uncover the Rotunda, which had been covered with 270 miles of scaffolding for more than a year. Dismantling the scaffolding took five weeks and required an 80ft crane to remove parts of it. For the first time, the new roof was revealed.

View of the Rotunda in July from a distance with the new roof at Ickworth, Suffolk


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