A new solution for a unique restoration project on the Rotunda at Northwood House
Work has now started on a major project to renovate the Rotunda at historic Northwood House in Cowes, Isle of Wight. Significant work is being undertaken on the iconic entrance dome part funded by a grant from the Coastal Revival Fund.
The Rotunda – opened in 1838 – is a unique Georgian structure. The dome was formed over bricks using medina cement render to the internal and external faces. Through the years various repairs have been undertaken, but the structure suffers badly from water ingress. Many layers of later coatings including paint, bitumen and plaster have been carefully removed to find the original dome that George Henry Ward would have seen.
This week StressUK – world leaders in historic building support and restoration – will apply a carbon fibre support coating. This is the first time this technique will be applied to historic plaster enabling the existing structure to be preserved and protected without piercing or damaging the original materials.
The dome roof is a critical part of the project to restore the Rotunda to its original splendour as the grand entrance to Northwood House – an entrance that has welcomed prime ministers, dignitaries, royalty and the Isle of Wight community for over 180 years.
In addition to the roof project, detailed restoration is taking place inside the building including stripping layers of paint from the Georgian pillars, cleaning and refurnishing the historic stone floor and repainting the interior in period colours.
Tim Wander, the Charity’s Project Manager said, “as always once you peel back the layers of an old building there are always some unwelcome surprises and challenges to overcome. But we have a great team on site and some ground-breaking technical solutions to recently found structural issues that have just been agreed with Historic England.”
Roseleen Cullen, Chair of the Charity added “We are delighted that this essential work is underway to preserve and protect this unique part of the House through which visitors, staff and tenants pass every day. The House has watched over and supported the town and people of Cowes for over 180 years and this work will ensure it can continue to do so long into the future.”
Work on the project is hoped to be completed by the first week in June, subject to weather and any unforeseen factors, in time for the busy summer event season at Northwood House.
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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