Now that the roof is in place work can begin on removing the Cotswold slate, repairing those slates than can be re-used and replacing those that are too damaged. The flat roof will also be removed and re-leaded and the balustrade renewed. A large "jacket" will be put over the entire structure of the scaffolding to protect the ongoing conservation work from the weather. This will be thicker at the top and will hide the whole house, though when the National Trust "season" starts up again in April, hard hat tours of the exterior of the building will be available to show people the progress of the project. Exciting! (Unless you don't like heights in which case there will be an exhibition in the Information Centre.) In a short while the original quarry will be opened and chalk extracted to repair the external walls of the house. There's a lot going on!
The house closed yesterday and the portrait collection is being removed today. Whilst the renovation work is in progress the portraits will also be receiving some conservation care and again this will be reported here on the blog. During October the Information Centre remains open with a short presentation and garden tour on offer to update visitors on the project and show some of the aspects of the Ashdown Estate that don't normally get mentioned. So far the conservation project has proved very popular with visitors and we look forward to welcoming you to Ashdown and showing you what is going on!
There are more photographs of the ongoing renovation project here.