Levens Hall in Cumbria is set to receive a lifeline grant towards essential restoration from the Historic Houses Foundation.
The Historic Houses Foundation is a major beneficiary of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, recently announced by the UK Government and Historic England, which will provide invaluable support for restoration work on some of England’s most important and vulnerable historic buildings.
The Historic Houses Foundation will now be able to set in place a programme of urgent work that would not otherwise have been possible. Over the past 17 years the Foundation has distributed over £11 million in grant aid to nearly 250 vital restoration projects in England and Wales.
The Historic Houses Foundation is one of the leading funders of architectural conservation and one of the only bodies able to support buildings in private ownership. The nationally recognised expertise of its eight volunteer Trustees makes it ideally suited to identifying those projects most in need of support and after careful consideration, 18 nationally important properties across England were selected to benefit from these funds – of which Levens Hall is one.
Levens Hall is globally famous for the earliest topiary garden in the world but the garden is a setting for a remarkable Elizabethan house. Structural repairs are urgently needed for the North Tower where a leaky roof is posing a threat not just to the Main Hall but to rooms dedicated to storing collections of vulnerable papers and paintings.
Work will begin immediately and continue over the winter months before the start of the new tourist season in Spring 2021 and is expected to provide welcome employment to a wide range of traditional craftsmen and building professionals in addition to other local employment opportunities.
Richard Bagot, owner of Levens Hall, said “We are extremely grateful to the Historic Houses Foundation for their support. Without this funding we would not be able to undertake the major structural repairs needed to the North Tower. During the Victorian era, the tower’s traditional lime rough-cast render was removed and replaced by a hard, cementitious mortar, but this is now cracking, causing fissures through the stonework. The parapets are open-jointed allowing water ingress through the wallheads and the roof is also leaking. Damage to internal rooms has been very serious. These issues need addressing urgently before any further damage is done to the building and its contents. We look forward to the continued long-term preservation of our heritage with the help of local conservation experts.”
Norman Hudson OBE, Chairman of the Historic Houses Foundation says “Our grants go to historic buildings in all categories of ownership, so range far wider than the National Trust. That we have been selected as a Delivery Partner for this money indicates that the Government likes what we do and recognises the exceptionally cost efficient way in which we achieve it. It is good news for historic buildings and good news for jobs and the local community”
For more information about the Historic Houses Foundation, please visit https://www.historichousesfoundation.org.uk/
For more information about Levens Hall, please visit www.levenshall.co.uk/