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£1m plan to ‘re-Victorianise’ Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 16:28 12 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:28 12 June 2017

Window collapse at Oxborough Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Window collapse at Oxborough Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Almost £1m is being spent on a period revamp of a unique stately home.

Window collapse at Oxborough Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYWindow collapse at Oxborough Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Experts were called in at Oxburgh Hall, near Downham Market, after a centuries-old dormer window collapsed.

While no-one was hurt, the incident last August sent tonnes of masonry crashing into the courtyard.

The 15th Century moated manor house at Oxborough has now re-opened again, with scaffolding in place around its inner courtyard.

The National Trust, which cares for the property, has decided to carry out a far more ambitious restoration.

Window collapse at Oxborough Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYWindow collapse at Oxborough Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Manager Alex Lassoued said: “It was identified that there was an issue with the way that the Victorians built the dormer windows. Therefore all windows are now secured.

“It has been decided that while we have scaffolding we will identify works to complete in addition to the dormer windows.

“We are therefore undergoing a much larger and ambitious restoration project that not only will restore all the dormer windows, but other Victorian additions too.

“Therefore the project to restore Oxburgh Hall will be much more extensive than fixing the dormer window and we are investing £900k in Oxburgh Hall to ensure that it lasts for generations to come, as well as restoring some other features.”

Few visitors realise that many of the building’s architectural features, such as its dormer windows, exterior windows and ornate chimneys, are not quite as ancient as they might seem.

They were built in the Victorian period as part of the neo Gothic movement that romanticised the medieval age. Victorians tried to medievalise the medieval at Oxburgh.

Its gardens and woodland are also Victorian designs as well. Over the next few years, the trust will be restoring these features to their Victorian look.

They designed a wilderness consisting of shrubs, specimen trees, meandering paths, a rustic bridge and a sunken area known as the Dell. Its centrepiece was an avenue of trees where ladies of the time could promenade.

Mr Lassoued said: “The continued works to the house have provided us with an opportunity to discover more about this beautiful home and surrounding landscape, and explore its history in a new and exciting way.”

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