Historic ‘building at risk’ undergoing emergency structural repairs
- Credit: Charlotte Steedman
A Knebworth heritage site is undergoing emergency structural repairs to preserve the building for future generations.
Councillor Terry Tyler visited Knebworth House to view the ongoing repairs at the Hertfordshire stately home.
As chairman of North Herts District Council, Cllr Tyler is an ex-officio trustee of the Knebworth House Education and Preservation Trust (KHEPT), a charity whose sole purpose is to preserve and maintain Knebworth House and Gardens for the benefit of the public.
In 2012, Knebworth House was designated by English Heritage as a ‘priority building at risk’.
Costs to complete the essential repairs are currently estimated at £11 million.
That figure, if it can be raised, will secure the building, but the charitable trust will then need an endowment beyond this to continue the preservation of this precious local asset into the future.
Cllr Terry Tyler said: “I was so impressed at the activities of the trust and am appalled to learn that KHEPT needs £11m in urgent repairs.
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“As chairman of NHDC and ex-officio KHEPT Trustee I will help the trust as much as I can.”
This was Cllr Tyler’s first visit as a trustee. He was shown around Knebworth House by the person who knows it best, custodian Henry Lytton Cobbold.
Alongside pointing out the work the charity has successfully completed over its 36-year history, Henry revealed the areas that are in need of urgent repair, including a large section of the southern roof where water is entering and causing interior damage.
The 500-year-old building requires constant monitoring for water ingress.
Henry Lytton Cobbold said: “We work hard to present Knebworth House to visitors in its best light, however it is important for those who care for it to understand the problems that are not always visible.
“Having local councillors give their time as trustees to listen to the issues and look deeper into charity’s challenges is a great support and very much appreciated.”
Another area of concern for KHEPT trustees is severe cracking and structural damage to the North West Turret, which has worsened recently due to extreme weather.
Underpinning work is currently being carried out to stop further movement in the turret.
Cllr Terry Tyler, chairman of NHDC, Cllr Jim Brown, Mayor of Stevenage, and Cllr Roger Willocks, chairman of Knebworth Parish Council, all act as KHEPT ex-officio trustees during their term of office.
For more information please visit www.knebworthhouse.com/khept
To donate, visit https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/khept/donate/