Knole has received a green light from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop our plans for Phase 2 of our conservation project, Inspired by Knole.
“We are thrilled by the news,” says Emma Slocombe, Knole curator. “Knole is one of the country’s most precious and exceptional historic houses. We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund agrees that our plans to share Knole’s heritage with our visitors should go through to the next round of the funding process. If we are successful in our final application, we will not only be able to secure the building and its contents for the future, but we can start telling the stories of this extraordinary house in compelling new ways.”
The decade-long project aims to create a public conservation studio at the heart of a community-based programme of heritage and conservation skills training. As well as the studio and learning complex, we plan to open attic rooms and the Outer Wicket tower to visitors.
The studio will provide the foundation for our massive conservation programme, during which the collection will be removed to the studio room by room and conserved. The rooms themselves will be rewired, insulated and new heating and lighting systems installed. Each year we will share with visitors the secrets learned as history is peeled back. Once conserved in the studio, Knole’s collections will return to their rightful place.
The Heritage Lottery Fund believes our plans “have the potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money”. We will now develop final plans for the project, which will cost £17.3m in total. Knole will bid for £7.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund in round 2 of the bid process, with the balance coming from the National Trust and a fundraising campaign, which has already raised £1.5m.
Transforming Knole will require a great number of helpers, working throughout the property to conserve and maintain Knole and its collections. They will also help the public, the groups who work with us and our school visitors discover and enjoy the property. We aim to work in partnership with businesses, community groups, education providers, families and individuals as we develop what Knole has to offer. We plan to train the conservators of the future, and to pass on our knowledge of conservation skills and heritage crafts through an exciting training and skills programme for the general public.
Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “Knole is one the UK’s most spectacular examples of both a Tudor palace and a renaissance mansion with an intriguing history encompassing the eras of King Henry VIII and novelist Vita Sackville-West. Linked for centuries to the bustling market town of Sevenoaks, the house has always been a backdrop to people’s daily lives, particularly as its medieval deer park is open for everyone’s use. The Heritage Lottery Fund’s initial support indicates our belief that Knole should be preserved for the future but we also welcome the National Trust’s innovative plans to create a studio where visitors will be able to learn more about heritage conservation.”