A grant of over £260,000 has ensured the Pantheon, one of the most important features in the world-famous landscape gardens at Stourhead in Wiltshire, can be saved.
The building is in urgent need of repairs and now thanks to the grant of £260,200 from the SITA Trust, work is able to start on essential repairs to the Pantheon and other buildings in the garden.
The money will also pay for work on the lower pump house which is currently inaccessible because the area around it is unsafe.
The SITA Trust supports community and environmental improvement projects through the Landfill Communities Fund.
Marek Gordon, Chair of SITA Trust, said ‘The Landfill Communities Fund gives us a chance to safeguard some of the country’s most precious heritage. Our Board were keen to support a project where funding will allow the National Trust to conserve Stourhead which is such an iconic place enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people each year.”
Most of the buildings in the garden need some maintenance work with several in need of extensive repairs. Probably one of the most photographed National Trust gardens in the country, the buildings carefully placed through the landscape when the gardens were designed, are an important part of its appeal.
Thanks to the grant from SITA Trust, the National Trust is now planning an appeal to raise another £240,000 to complete the project.
The first stage will be repairs to the Pantheon, which is in need of some urgent repairs. Built in 1754, it is the largest and most prominent of the temples around the lake at Stourhead – and one of the first buildings that visitors see when looking across the lake.
A number of the steps into the building are cracked and a leaking roof is causing other damage inside. It is considered to be in the most urgent need of repair.
The lower pump house and waterwheel is now quite dilapidated but was part of the water system on the estate, pumping water to a reservoir a mile away.
The area around the buildings is unsafe but repairs to steps and a wooden bridge would allow visitors to once more have access to the pump house and waterwheel and see some of the engineering which went into maintaining the landscape gardens.
There are a total of 22 buildings and structures around Stourhead, including King Alfred’s Tower, the Temple of Apollo and the Grotto – many of which need repair.
“Mike MacCormack, General Manager at Stourhead said the buildings were an important part of the Grade 1 listed landscape and many were also listed themselves.
“The Stourhead landscape was designed over 40 years in the mid 18th Century by Henry Hoare II, with this wonderful array of buildings and features as an integral part of that design. The buildings are often the focal point for the views across the lake and the iconic views of Stourhead which is recognised and loved by so many would not be the same if the Pantheon, the bridge or the grotto wasn’t there.
“We are so fortunate that Stourhead has survived for 250 years, but time has taken its toll and, if we are to ensure it survival for future generations, we need to carry out some major repairs to many of the buildings – and essential maintenance to others.
“Thanks to the support of SITA Trust, we know we can do some of the most urgent work to the Pantheon and the lower pump house. Their support is a tremendous kick start to our plans to save the entire collection of buildings which make the garden so important and well loved.
More information on Stourhead is available on www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead