Harvington Hall
Harvington Hall
Harvington Hall

Conservation at Harvington Hall

After years of neglect and few repairs, Harvington fell into a state of disrepair and was described in 1910 “doomed to inevitable destruction”.

The Hall was letting in water, ivy had taken hold and the floors were too unsafe for visitors. In a testament to the resilience and importance of the building, Harvington was saved from ruin in the 1930s. The Hall underwent a huge restoration programme, somewhat instigated by the roof collapsing in 1929, a result of the ivy being stripped from it. 

How We Keep The Hall In The Best Condition 

Over the past 90 years Harvington has undergone a number of conservation projects: replacing and repairing mullion windows, repointing of brickwork, and treating of the Elizabethan wall paintings to name but a few. In 2008-09 the Malt House was converted into a new visitor centre (now the coffee shop). 

In October 2019 it was identified that the vaulted plaster ceiling in the withdrawing room had started to detach from the laths making it unsafe to enter the room.

The ceiling has been taken down and the room is now safe for visitors.

Although the roof is not traditionally medieval, the 1930s craftsmanship is still a stunning highlight of any trip to Harvington. To see more please visit our YouTube channel 

Having closed due to works on the ceiling and Covid-19, we took the opportunity to undertake further surveys of the building, moat and surrounding landscape. This has included for the first time fully mapping the interior of the building, including the priests’ hides. It is an exciting time at Harvington as we look to take action on the findings of these different surveys. 


Harvington Hall

Conservation Cleaning

Keeping a historic house like Harvington clean is crucial if it is to survive for generations.

A lack of cleaning can be harmful for both objects and interiors. A build-up of dust and dirt, which naturally will accumulate with a high number of visitors walking through the Hall rooms and passages during the year, attracts moisture and woodworm.

Conservation cleaning is very different to how we clean our homes, at home we are used to using cleaning products; however such chemicals can be harmful to historic timbers, fabrics and many other materials, which can be found in any historic house. Conservation cleaning aims to be as non-assuasive as possible and various techniques are applied depending on what it is that is being cleaned.

Who cleans Harvington Hall?

Before reopening in 2021 professional conservation cleaners ‘Hog & Fitch’ spent a whole month cleaning the Hall, waxing the floors, leaving the Hall spotless.

To keep on top of their good work our dedicated volunteer team clean the Hall weekly, consisting of cleaning flats and floors and removing any cobwebs from hard to reach places.

Before opening each year our volunteers get to chance to be up close and personal cleaning the delicate items in our collection.

If you think conservation cleaning and looking after our collection is something you might like to do then please get in touch. (No experience necessary)

Bridge Conservation 2022

Harvington is one of the 17 sites funded by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, which received £2.9million from Historic England for urgent repair programmes under the second round of funding via the Heritage Stimulus Fund.

Harvington’s £117,000 grant will cover a large part of the cost of the works to the bridges, which is expected to run to nearly £150,000. The Hall has launched a fundraising campaign for an extra £30,000 to hit its target.

The Hall’s two bridges, which date from the 1700s, are the only way to access the hall which is on an island. The bridges are in need of repairs to ensure they can continue to be safely used, to allow visitor access and emergency vehicles.

Work on the bridges means that part of the moat has been drained, with archaeologists on hand to look for any hidden treasures from the Hall’s past.

The moat has not been drained since the 1930s, when archaeologists found spectacles, clay pipes and slipware plate fragments which have been reassembled and are now displayed in the Hall.

Please keep an eye on our social media channels for regular updates.

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