Work has started this week on the replacement of the roof at Kelmarsh Hall, one of the biggest projects undertaken in its history.
The 22-week programme of work will include the removal of existing slates, the strengthening of the structural timber and repairs to the stone work.
The existing Westmoreland green slates will be replaced like for like and original building techniques will be used, such as pegging the slates instead of nailing them.
The last time the roof was completely replaced was sometime in the 1820s or 1830s.
Holding repairs were carried out to the roof in the 1970s but a complete renovation is now required.
It follows another important project to help conserve the 18th Century hall and its contents – the installation of a renewable energy system.
The system – one of the first of its kind to be used in a country house in Northamptonshire - sources heat from the estate’s lake to maintain a constant temperature in the hall and protect the fabric of the building.
Coils of pipe containing vegetable-based antifreeze have been submerged in the lake: the pipes collect low-grade heat from the water and pump it to the hall, where it is compressed into a gas to heat the water system.
The gas is then decompressed to return to the lake and so the system starts all over again.
Sensors are fixed to the outside of the building so that if temperatures drop dramatically, heat is temporarily drawn off the boiler until the optimum temperature is reached.
The project by Ecovision Renewable Energy will see Kelmarsh’s reliance on oil cut by at least 50 per cent.
It is supported by E-ON, who are behind the application for a windfarm on the estate.
The roof work means that Kelmarsh Hall will be closed until Easter – however, there are still a few events being held in the Lime Shed in the coming months:
October 17 from 10am – 4pm Bonhams valuation day
November 14 from 10am – 4pm Bonhams valuation day
December 6/7 Christmas wreath-making workshop
December 10/11 Christmas table decoration workshop
Kelmarsh Hall is also holding The Great Debate: How to Present the Great Hall of Kelmarsh Hall, on Thursday, November 22.
The day will include talks by different conservation specialists to help determine the future presentation of the Great Hall.