Highcliffe Castle’s Penleaze Wing will re-open to the public on 5th April after a major restoration completed by Dorset Chartered Builders, Greendale Construction Limited.
The Georgian Gothic Revival castle, built in 1871 by Charles Stuart, 1st Baron Stuart de Rothesay, has had access opened up to parts of the building previously impassable for over 50 years, since devastating fires and vandalism destroyed and cut off parts of the building.
The castle’s original kitchen dating from the 1800s has been reinstalled, with original stone floors being re-laid along with new concrete ground slabs. Existing retained solid floors have been overlaid and new oak flooring to key rooms has been installed along with underfloor heating. Existing exposed brickwork and remaining original wall and ceiling finishes have been carefully conserved. Previously repaired windows and doors have been sympathetically overhauled and repairs to a remaining stone staircase have been skilfully completed. The works have also seen the extension of upper level stairs with timber, and the formation of 2 new lift shafts and 5 new or restored stairs. A mezzanine level walkway has been completed, and new steel stairs extending to the first and second floor. The Castle has also benefitted from the installation of all new mechanical and electrical services.
New exhibition and activity spaces have been created, enabling the Castle welcoming back some original pieces of Marshal Ney furniture from the Victoria & Albert Museum which was originally bought by Lord Stuart de Rothesay to furnish the English Embassy in Paris and subsequently brought to his own home at Highcliffe Castle.
Katie Ingham, Heritage Team Leader at Highcliffe Castle, said: “We are delighted that Phase 7 of the restoration works here at the Castle are now complete. We have enjoyed working in partnership with the talented Greendale team and contractors, and we cannot wait to open the new wing and welcome visitors to areas that have been unoccupied for over 50 years!”
Rob Hooker, Director at Greendale Construction Limited, commented: “The restoration of the Penleaze Wing has not only opened up parts of the castle previously inaccessible since the fires over 50 years ago but, will also help create a lasting legacy with this historically significant attraction. It has been a very collaborative, enjoyable and unique project, and we are very pleased with the transformation achieved and immensely proud of the whole team involved.”