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Project

Through the Roof - FuturepROOFing Coughton

Coughton Court with Phase 2 scaffolding
Coughton Court with Phase 2 scaffolding | © National Trust/Amy Bromage

From September 2023 Coughton Court is going 'Through the Roof' with a £3.3m conservation project to preserve, repair and improve our building’s façade and roof.

Through the Roof – What is it?

As part of the National Trust’s commitment to conservation, we are undertaking a significant £3.3 million restoration roof project right here at Coughton Court. This multiple year project will begin this September and run until 2025 seeing key sections of the roof restored, and essential repairs as well as improvements also taking place across the fabric of the property.

This is the biggest conservation investment by the National Trust at Coughton Court with the project being funded by the charity’s members, supporters and donors with grant funding donated by The Wolfson Foundation.

Not only is the project allowing essential work to take place but will also be providing a new unique experience for our visitors during the summer of 2024. Visitors will have the ability to witness first-hand the roof work taking place with visitor friendly scaffolding coming this spring. This is an experience that will be not only allow our visitors to see the behind scenes action but will also provide spectacular views across the surrounding area.

Through the Roof - Why is restoring the roof so important?

During 2016 a Quinquennial Inspection of Coughton Court took place with the report highlighting serious concerns regarding the fabric of the building. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic the project to rectify these issues was delayed. In 2022 a further feasibility study took place reporting considerable damage to the roof across the entire property. As this now provided an unavoidable risk to the historic collection being damaged and years of deterioration.

Through the Roof will restore Coughton’s roof through external and internal repairs including repairs to internal guttering, stone and window work to prevent flooding within the building. All the repairs and conservation will ensure that the property continues to stand for years to come and allow future generations to enjoy.

Did you know?

At Coughton most of the drainage systems are internal meaning that when they overflow due to heavy rain, they run down the inside walls.

‘We are excited to be working on the “Through the Roof” project at Coughton Court which will help safeguard Coughton and its highly significant collection. Any major project will impact how the site is presented; this however will be a rare opportunity to see a more behind the scene’s look at Coughton. We are working hard to create new experiences for visitors whilst the site is undergoing this work. Conservation is a key value in the work that we do, and these works are important to ensure we secure Coughton’s legacy for generations to come.’

A quote by Gurminder KenthNational Trust/North Warwickshire General Manager

Through the Roof - Who is restoring the roof?

The work is being completed by specialist group of contractors who will be re-using historical materials wherever possible. Some of our specialists include conservation stonemasons, glaziers and lead work specialists. All working to restore the façade and roof to its former glory.

We also have a dedicated team of volunteers and staff members ensuring the smooth running of both the house and grounds throughout the project. Thanks to this dedicated team the house and grounds will remain accessible to everyone during open seasons for the visitors to enjoy.

What are phases of the Through the Roof Project?

Phase 1 – Autumn 2023 until Spring 2024 will see the South Wing’s first half of the roof repair and façade improved

Phase 2 – Running from Spring 2024 until Summer 2024 will see the tower repaired, visitor viewing platform erected and façade repaired.

Phase 3 – Running from Autumn 2024 until Winter 2024 will see the North Wing roof repaired.

Phase 4 – The final phase of the project will take place in the Winter 2024 – Spring 2025 and will see the second part of the South Wing roof above the Saloon completed and repaired.

Through the Roof - The Bats

As part of the Through the Roof project, not only are we conserving the collection and the property, but also the bat roosts that have called Coughton Court home for generations. The project will provide a more suitable environment for the future by reducing water ingress via repairing damage to the roof, and using bat-safe materials to ensure all our resident species can thrive for generations to come.

Did you Know?

Coughton Court is home to four separate bat species occupying various roosts around the property.

Want to dive deeper into the Through the Roof project?

From 29 February visitors are invited to immerse themselves into the new interactive Through the Roof exhibition.

Located in the Coach House visitors can dive deeper into the £3.3 million project learning all about the behind the scenes secrets. Hear from the experts that are supporting the project in the new behind the curtain video. Explore life as a Coughton Court bat in the new bat cave complete with sounds and smells. Witness the fascinating finds and samples from the project including bricks, slates and tiles.

Through the roof in the media

The Through the Roof: FuturepROOFing Coughton Court project has featured in the climate adaption report that the National Trust has put together highlighting how more frequent heavier rain plus the natural wear and tear of an historic building has contributed to the need for a project such as this to take. As part of this the Coughton Court project team have been featured on various new outlets from the BBC breakfast programme to the Channel 5 news.

The BBC article can be found here.

There are so many things going on during the Project

We will share some images here to give you a peek into the work going on.

Scaffold Welcome area at Coughton Court
The first step to the tower | © National Trust/Bill Alloway

Scaffold Welcome Area

You may wonder what it's like to climb the scaffolding. The first step is to enter the welcome area where you will be fitted with a high-viz jacket which are available in lots of sizes. You will also be issued a safety helmet which is adjustable. There follows a briefing to make sure that your climb is safe as well as rewarding with views of the scenery as well as the work in progress. There are plenty of landings on the way up and down so you can take a rest if you feel like it. Enjoy it is included in your entry charge or membership.

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Latest updates

May 24

Tabula Eliensis

On 1 May the Tabula Eliensis was removed from it's home in the Tower where it has been located for nearly 70 years unable to be moved due to its size and delicate condition. 

Thanks to the 'Through the Roof project' this has provided a once in a lifetime opportunity to lift this treasured painted cloth through an opening in the soon-to-be-repaired roof . Protected by a bespoke crate, the large painted cloth measuring 2.3m x 2.6m, was craned out by fine art handlers with the support of National Trust’s conservation team. 
 
Safely freed from the tower, it will now undergo conservation treatment, technical examination and is due to undergo further research before returning to Coughton Court. 

Tabula Eliensis being removed from tower
Tabula Eliensis removal from tower 2024 | © National Trust/Amy Bromage
Tabula Eliensis stabilization at Coughton Court
A delicate and very important job | © National Trust/Bill Alloway
The sixteenth-century Gate Tower on the West Front at Coughton Court, with a row of pyramid-shaped topiary hedges and a lawn at the front

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