English Heritage is set to revive the celebrated Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens in Northumberland, thanks to initial support* for National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The property, one of English Heritage’s key sites in the north east, will benefit from a total investment of £3.5m. The extensive project includes major work to rejuvenate the renowned gardens, conservation work to the Old Stables including the provision of a brand new family-friendly space and facilities and a play-and-learn area with an outdoor classroom, and conservation and repair works to the roof of the Hall. This work forms part of the charity’s major national conservation programme – the largest in the history of the sites in its care. Work is planned to start in the summer of 2019, with phased completion in 2020 and 2021.
English Heritage is keen to remain open to visitors during the full open season of 2019 – with an aim to inform and engage visitors on the work as it evolves – a scheme which has worked well at other English Heritage sites so visitors can continue to enjoy the house and gardens throughout the open season.
Andrea Selley, Historic Properties Director for English Heritage North says: “Belsay Hall, together with its medieval Castle, and unique 20 acres of gardens, is one of our jewels in the north east. Conservation of this very special Classical Greek Revival hall is a priority, and we see the addition of these new visitor facilities and new interpretation as essential to improve the experience of this special place for visitors. We are also pleased to be working in partnership with the Belsay Trust, which manages the wider landscape around Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens. The gardens will benefit from restoration work to its acclaimed ‘picturesque’ style landscape, rejuvenating the plant collection and opening up new areas to visitors. We will also invest in an innovative children’s adventure play park. Our key aim is to ensure our members and all our visitors enjoy everything that Belsay has to offer and conserve this gem of a property for future generations.”
John Watkins, Head of Gardens for English Heritage adds: “The picturesque landscape and Quarry Garden at Belsay are quite unique, this project aims to restore lost views, design and plant collections, as well as providing opportunities for apprentices and volunteers to be part of the revival of one of the North East’s great gardens.”
Having been awarded initial support* and a £192,500 development grant by HLF, English Heritage are finalising details to apply for a confirmed National Lottery grant of £1,885,100 towards the total £3.5m cost of the project.
HLF, which invests National Lottery players’ money to make a difference for people and heritage, continue to transform heritage in the UK with £7.7billion awarded to over 42,000 projects across the country since 1994.