For the past month the house team has been busy bringing the Through the Roof project into the mansion. We have been transforming one of the first floor rooms into a space to introduce the project and another room to highlight what the Attingham Re-discovered project has achieved in the last 6 years.
We have contrasted the work of the two roof architects past and present, John Nash who built the Picture Gallery for 2nd Lord Berwick during 1805-7 and David Duckham the architect of the current project to protect Nash’s iconic roof. We’ve created two desks; Nash’s with copies of original bills and plans of the house for you to see and David Duckham’s with reports and plans of the up-coming project. We’ve also tried to answer some of the questions people might have about the project which is scheduled to start next year.
The Through the Roof project has also arrived at the Mansion in the form of some brilliant tours. During August, 19 intrepid volunteers met one day to talk about running these tours for the duration of the two year project. We started by getting inspiration in the Mansion and walking the possible route. We walked through the Entrance Hall, into the Picture Gallery itself with the cast iron ceiling above us, then we trooped up the Nash staircase and onto the first floor of the Mansion. From here we could look out directly onto the Nash roof itself as well as the 1974 secondary structure above. From this view it is possible to see just how dirty the panes of glass have become, an issue which will be addresssed in the forthcoming project.
After catching our breath on the first floor, we tackled another flight of stairs up to the second floor, somewhere even some of our long serving volunteers had not been before. From the windows on this level we could see straight out onto the whole of the Picture Gallery roof at the centre of the mansion, seeing the lead roof of the Regency structure exposed with the failing 1974 glazing around the edges.
Over the next month training sessions were conducted covering everything from the history of the Picture Gallery, to the project today and the logistics of giving a tour (even suggesting some interesting vocal warm up techniques). These sessions were designed to equip everyone with the knowledge to write their own tours, building on what interests them the most.
All the roof tour guides have had the opportunity to lead a few of their own tours since then as we have been running them in the mansion and they have been well received. Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers will also be running tours during our ‘closed’ season, giving visitors the opportunity to discover more about this amazing Regency space and to get a view onto the roof from a very different angle.
Through the roof tours will be run at weekends in November on the 17th and 18th, 24th and 25th at each day at 11.30am and 12.30pm. Please ask at Visitor Reception for tickets which are free to members and normal house and grounds admission applies to non-members. Tours will also be running in the New Year and throughout the two-year project and we’d love for you to join us on this unique tour.