The Gothic Tower at Wimpole refurbished

The Gothic Tower at Wimpole after the scaffolding came down earlier this year. ©National Trust

The Gothic Tower at Wimpole after the scaffolding came down earlier this year. ©National Trust

At Wimpole Hall a project has been underway to refurbish the Gothic Tower, which has acted as an eyecatcher since the eighteenth century. I will just show a few highlights here – more about this complex and fascinating project can be found on the Wimpole Estate blog and the East of England Conservation blog.

Design for the Gothic Tower at Wimpole by Sanderson Miller, 1751.

Design for the Gothic Tower at Wimpole by Sanderson Miller, 1751.

The Gothic Tower was designed by Gothic Revival pioneer and folly specialist Sanderson Miller in 1751, but was only built twenty years later. Many of the features of the Tower were made of clunch, a soft limestone. As this deteriorated over tine the building was patched up with brick and the tower lost its distinctive crenelation.

Photograph of the Gothic Tower in 1881, showing the crenelations beginning to deteriorate.

Photograph of the Gothic Tower in 1881, showing the crenelations beginning to deteriorate.

Between 1805 and the late 1920s the Gothic Tower was inhabited by the estate gamekeeper and kept in reasonably good condition. But during the twentieth century the building deteriorated, which prompted this conservation project.

The Gothic Tower before the conservation project began. ©National Trust

The Gothic Tower before the conservation project began. ©National Trust

The work was funded by a Higher Level Stewardship grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and was undertaken by Cliveden Conservation.

The Gothic Tower encased in a scaffolding tower. ©National Trust

The Gothic Tower encased in a scaffolding tower. ©National Trust

The walls have been repaired and repointed with lime mortar. The crenelations have been replaced using Chilmark stone, which looks similar to clunch but is more durable.

View of the Gothic Tower across the lake. ©National Trust

View of the Gothic Tower across the lake. ©National Trust

The doors and windows have been remade and the scrub has been cleared from around the Tower. It is now once again accessible to the public and ready for a new lease of life.

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