On April 29 Clandon Park suffered a devastating fire which destroyed most of its interior. Thousands of items are feared to have been lost. Following the initial firefighting and salvage operations, structural engineers and insurers have been assessing the site.
Helen Ghosh, our Director General, has now said that ‘We’re hopeful that one day we can rebuild Clandon, but quite how, when and in what form is far from certain at this early stage. Nevertheless we would like to reassure all those people who love Clandon as much as we do that it will continue in some shape or form in the future.’
The external walls remain largely intact and work will begin shortly to erect scaffolding. Once that is complete and the building has been declared safe, specialist teams will undertake an archaeological salvage operation to recover more of what remains.
3D laser scanning, geophysical surveys and both ground-level and aerial photography are all being used to assess the site.
Significant objects from the collection were rescued from the fire, including paintings, furniture and silver. However, it will not be possible to confirm the full list of items saved and lost until the the full salvage operation has been completed.
But curator Sophie Chessum, who is leading the conservation team, has said she is pleased that a number of significant objects with connections to the Onslow family, who built Clandon, have been saved.
Some of the latest items confirmed as saved include the purse of state of ‘Great Speaker’ Arthur Onslow, an armchair associated with the Great Speaker, the 4th Countess of Onslow’s dinner book and the prisoner of war badge of the 6th Earl of Onslow.