I am excited that throughout my Internship here at Attingham I am going to be helping with the “Through the Roof” project. This is the next phase in the Attingham Re-discovered project which over the last 12 years has seen research and investigation lead to conservation work to bring back to life some of the beautiful interiors of the Mansion. This includes the masculine, Regency design scheme in the Octagon room and the cleaning of the paint work in the beautiful Boudoir. The rediscovered project aims to physically improve the mansion, explore and illustrate the houses’s history and also to encourage people to enter into the curatorial and conservation debates that go into decision making. You can find out more about Attingham Re-discovered by clicking here.
This next phase of Attingham Rediscovered is going to conserve and protect the beautiful picture gallery and grand staircase which sit at the heart of the mansion. This gallery was added by prominent Regency architect John Nash 1805-7 to house the Grand Tour art collection of the 2nd Lord Berwick. This was not just another country house gallery however, being a completely internal space the problem of getting in natural light was solved through the use of a new material, cast iron, to create the stunning top light glazed ceiling we see today. The innovative use of cast iron by Nash and the effect it produced means that this roof is not just any old roof, it is architecturally and historically important. It also meant however that the relatively untested building scheme has always been subject to water ingress. This ongoing problem has caused damage to the internal decorative scheme and although a secondary roof was added in the 1970s problems have continued.
After years of thorough research and consultation a decision has been made on the best course of action. A new secondary roof will be placed across the whole of the Nash roof at the centre of the mansion, protecting it in its entirety. This flat, planar, glazed roof will be slightly pitched away from the building, improving drainage and will be at a higher level, allowing access to the historic roof for cleaning and maintenance. It is again using innovative design and materials at Attingham to create and enhance a space.
What’s especially exciting about this project is the fact that it will be done whilst the house is open and with as much public interaction as possible. This means a really exciting opportunity for interpretation and engagement for the property. Over the next few months I’ll be updating the blog with news, developments, research and plans for the Through the Roof project which will begin in earnest in January 2013!
You can find out more about this project by coming to Attingham on Friday 7th September during our ‘7 Days’ event. You can find full details by clicking here.