Castle Drogo under seige – from rain

Castle Drogo, Devon (Image: wikipedia)

The last castle to be built in the UK, Castle Drogo, occupies a commanding position far up the Teign Gorge in Devon.  Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and built in the 1910s and 1920s and finally finished in 1931 for the wealthy businessman Julius Drewe, the Grade-I listed house is a brilliant modern interpretation of a castle combined with the comforts of a country house.

It was also one of the last houses to be built entirely in granite, the local stone of the area.  The grey stone and the clever massing of towers and wings give the house a solid, impregnable air but the house is under attack from the elements, with rain penetration causing serious concern.  The many flat roofs hidden behind the battlements started causing problems only two years after the house was finished and ever since it has been a constant battle to keep the house watertight.

House manager Bryher Mason told BBC News: “I wouldn’t be surprised to walk into a room one morning and find a section of the ceiling having fallen in because the metalwork in the ceiling has failed.”

The National Trust, who have cared for it since it was handed to them in 1974, have instigated a restoration and repair programme on the many roofs, which will include the replacement of all 13,000 window panes, and has been estimated to cost £10m, and will be completed by 2016.

Full story: ‘Leaking castle needs £10m repairs‘ [bbc.co.uk]

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About Matthew Beckett - The Country Seat

An amateur architectural historian with a particular love of UK country houses in all their many varied and beautiful forms.
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One Response to Castle Drogo under seige – from rain

  1. Andrew says:

    Following Matt’s tweets on 11 Feb and 14 Feb, it’s great news to hear that Castle Drogo, which opens to the public again on Saturday, has passed the first round of its £2.5m funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. But that’s still only a fifth of the now £12m estimated total restoration costs, which will also include the removal, restoration and return of 2,355 granite blocks weighing 680 tonnes. The National Trust’s current public appeal for an initial £1.5m represents its top funding priority of all its fundraising projects. However, given that the Castle started leaking soon after it was built in 1931, and that the National Trust has owned it since 1974, one has to wonder what the National Trust has been doing about it for the last 35 years. More information is on Twitter and Facebook.

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