Our work at Croome Court
Thanks to a £1.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, alongside generation donations from supporters, we've completed a major programme of repairs at Croome. From reservicing the house to repairing the roof in the Long Gallery, find out about the vital conservation work we've undertaken to preserve this historic building for generations to come.
Repair works at Croome Court
Step inside Croome Court and you’ll discover a stately home which has faded over time. The house creaks, bends and bows at every opportunity, and when the National Trust took on the care of this unique home, it needed lots of work to stabilise the buildings.
In recent years, Croome has completed a huge reservicing project to replace the plumbing and electrics, install ground source heating, replace rotten floorboards and window frames, shore up crumbling beams and repair the leaking roof.
It was thanks to a £1.8 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant, alongside a further £3.2 million raised by generous donations and grants from charitable trusts, that we were able to complete these works to make the house safe and stable, and prevent any further deterioration.
Conservation in action at Croome
As part of the project, we created opportunities for visitors to see the conservation work as it happened, including the creation of a ‘Sky Café’ on the scaffold, which allowed visitors to see the work up close.
Visitors were also able to see the items we found under the floorboards and in hidden spaces that were uncovered during the work – including a single leather shoe, ping-pong balls, a Nike trainer, some 1970s girls’ magazines and some 18th-century nails.
Also uncovered was an old wallpaper paste brush, some cigarette packets, broken crockery, old newspapers, and a note giving the names and addresses of decorators who worked on the house in 1976 – revealing snippets of Croome’s history that would have remained lost.
Repairs to the Long Gallery ceiling
The Long Gallery is the largest and grandest room at Croome, built with a raised ceiling and decorated with elaborate coffered plasterwork.
For many years the ceiling needed major repairs works, both to the roof itself and the plasterwork. There was damage to the frieze at the corner of the bay, caused by a leak in the flat roof above, which exposed the construction of the wooden lathe framework of the ceiling.
Thanks to generous funding, the roof leak has now been repaired, and the plasterwork has also undergone vital conservation work as part of a wider project to preserve the house at Croome.
Installing an energy-efficient heating system
As well as vital repairs to the house, the funding allowed us to install a more energy-efficient ground source heating system at Croome, supporting the National Trust’s ambition to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
Ground source heat pumps work by absorbing energy from the soil and transferring it into a building to heat it. At Croome we have a large ‘ground-loop’, a network of pipes around 6km long under an area of the south park, and a new heat pump housed at the back of the Red Wing.
In a historic building, humidity levels are more important than heat levels, and we must ensure the buildings and their contents don’t become too dry or too damp. The ground source heating system allows us to maintain a steady temperature and humidity, to preserve the history of Croome.
Restoring the Red Wing
When the National Trust started caring for Croome, the Red Wing was severely deteriorating, and was in the worst condition of any Grade I listed building in Worcestershire and across the West Midlands.
Work immediately began to protect the structure from any further damage caused by the elements. A free-standing scaffold sealed with plastic sheeting was erected to cover the entire building, and an internal scaffold was erected to enable indoor repair work.
Repair works ended in 2016, making the entire structure wind and water tight. While there are still many missing floors and dilapidated areas in the Red Wing, we hope to show you glimpses of this once-practical space, and one day return the Red Wing to its original purpose as a service wing.
Artist Kashif Nadim Chaudry’s installation, 'What is Home', was inspired by a period in Croome’s history when it housed a residential school.
In 1948 Croome was sold to the Diocese of Birmingham and became St Joseph’s School for Boys. The pupils came to the school for a number of different reasons. The boys’ stories of their time at Croome are as varied as were their backgrounds, some happy, some sad, and many very moving.
Artist Kashif Nadim Chaudry worked with ex pupils and young people in the care system to explore the question, what is home? Each participant answered that question with a personal object that means home to them, loaned to Croome as part of the exhibition.
‘What is Home’ was delivered through contemporary art programme Trust New Art, and we worked closely on developing the work with The Green Fingers Project part of Worcestershire County Council's, Children Families and Communities Directorate, Chatback Productions and supported using public funding by Arts Council England and a donation from the Tony Brooks Legacy Fund.
This project was part of Trust New Art, the National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts which is supported by partnerships with Arts Council England and the Arts Council of Wales.
With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.
Read about Croome's eclectic history, as a home to the 6th Earl and the Coventry family, its time as RAF Defford's airbase, a school for boys, Hare Krishna centre, and the people that helped shape it.
Discover our current exhibitions, Marcus Coates: Conference for the Birds, 'Thomas Bewick: Looking Closely', and 'Threads: My Happy Place' as well as beautiful interiors, contemporary exhibitions and innovative installations.
Discover more about the privately owned Walled Gardens at Croome, home to large greenhouses, a rose garden and vegetable plots.
Stretch your legs and take in autumn colour with far reaching views to the Malvern Hills across 'Capability' Brown's first major landscape design project.
Read about our strategy 'For everyone, for ever' here at the National Trust, which will take the organisation through to 2025.