Detailed restoration work is under way using modern technology
Work is nearly complete on the comprehensive restoration of 1838 Northwood House Rotunda. Significant work is being undertaken on the iconic entrance dome part funded by a grant from the Coastal Revival Fund.
As part of the project the Northwood House Team has also found time to repair and replace small interior details the majority of the visitors may never notice.
Throughout the House, over some 200 years of history, many of the fine mouldings in wood and plaster have been damaged or lost. The Project Team working with Dan Sandles has pioneered scanning surviving examples and then printing exact copies on a 3D printer. The original parts would be far too expensive to make today and many of the skills no longer exist.
The parts that have been 3-D printed include small strips of wall edging, part of a picture frame moulding and some corner rosettes that have been severely damaged over the years.
Ten plaster mouldings of the Ward family crest, a craggy necked wolf have been replaced by Ross Walmsley using more traditional plaster cast and moulding techniques. Ross also designed and installed the custom rotunda roof light.
In addition, over 75 parts of the laurel decorations which have been severely damaged have also been restored. Where possible the originals were repaired, the lower ribbons are hand-made thin fired clay strips while the laurels were made from linseed putty and rags that were baked onto a wooden former, while the crosses were cast in lead. Once the 3-D print replacements were in place have been gold leafed or gold leaf painted becoming indistinguishable from the originals.
The Restoration team have also broken new ground replacing part of rare ceiling glass, that dates from 1838. The originals are thin, hand-cast and hand-cut frosted Georgian double recurved glass panes. The best glass makers in the country can no longer make replacement panes. After many experiments Sunlight Plastics have made a series of mouldings and managed to make replacements from modern Lexan materials that are indistinguishable from the originals.
Work on the project is near to completion ready for the ceremony to celebrate restoration of the Rotunda on Monday 12th August during Cowes Week with Lora Peacey Wilcox – Mayor of Cowes, the Lord-Lieutenant – Mrs Susie Sheldon JP and the Directors of Northwood House Charitable Trust Co Ltd.
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Photos showing detailed work to re-create iconic Wolf Heads
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About Northwood House
Northwood House is an iconic grade II* listed Georgian manor house set in beautiful Northwood Park in the heart of Cowes.
The Estate has a rich history of hosting events and celebrations of all kinds. Purchased in 1793 by George Ward, a successful London merchant, the House was rebuilt and extensively decorated by his son, George Henry Ward. Many lavish parties were thrown by the Wards throughout the Victorian era when the Island was a popular destination for the Royal family.
The house was gifted to Cowes Urban District Council in 1929. In 2012 Northwood House Charitable Trust Co. Ltd was established to ensure the maintenance and development of the estate for the continued benefit of the residents and visitors to Cowes.
About the Coastal Revival Fund
The Coastal Revival Fund (CRF) was introduced in 2015-16 by the Department for Communities and Local Government to help coastal areas bring at risk heritage and community assets back into economic use. Since 2015, The Coastal Revival Fund (CRF) has provided £4.7 million to support 117 such projects which has helped unlock the economic potential of hard-to-tackle buildings, facilities and amusements such as piers, lidos and promenades.
This year each project was able to bid for up to £50,000 of funding to help identify a new role for iconic buildings and structures in need of restoration.
Six of the winning projects include grants for sites which are classed as ‘at risk’ by Historic England including Northwood House Rotunda on the Isle of Wight, a former Ice Factory in Grimsby, an Elizabethan House in Plymouth, an historic artillery Fort in Essex, a Miners Chapel in the heart of the community in St. Just, Penrith, and, the iconic Rock Gardens of Ramsgate.
The Coastal Revival Fund grant is administered through the Isle of Wight Council and the Charity has liaised closely with the Council’s Planning and Housing Services team.
For further information please contact:
Northwood House Administrator
T: 01983 293642
Northwood House Charitable Trust Company Limited
Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 8AZ