Restoration to the main house is well under way. Every day brings steady progress, and occasionally an exciting discovery.
Bucketts, our chosen firm of contractors, have been on site for four months carrying out careful and painstaking work to the main roof, the flat roof over the dining room and the parapet walls. The damage from the elements to this section of the building, mostly attributable to Alfred Lord Tennyson’s decision to adopt the servants quarters on the top floor for use as his study, was extensive and worse than we expected. The poet had the small windows typical of servant’s quarters duly replaced with generous bay windows affording views across the Solent, but in the process principle tie beams were cut through in several places and deterioration over time has been gradual but steady.
Here, as in elsewhere, new timbers and steels are being inserted alongside the originals, where additional support is needed, so that as much of the original fabric of the building is maintained. This also applies to the joists and rafters, and indeed the main supporting beams to the north and south gable ends which remain intact but reinforced with steel plates, so that the house’s future is now secure for generations to come. The scaffolding will come down in the first week of June. Throughout the summer months work will continue concentrating for the most part on the principal rooms in the main house.