Emergency structural repairs are underway at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, to pre3serve the heritage site for future generations.
The Welwyn Hatfield Times reports that local councillor Terry Tyler visited Knebworth House recently to take stock of the ongoing repairs at the stately home. Cllr Tyler, acting as chairman of North Herts District Council, is also an ex-officio trustee of the Knebworth House Education and Preservation Trust (KHEPT).
KHEPT is a charity whose sole purpose is to preserve and maintain Knebworth House and Gardens for the benefit of the public. The steely home was designated a ‘priority building at risk’ in 2012 by English Heritage, and costs to complete the vital repairs have been estimated at around £11 million.
If KHEPT can raise the funds, it will secure the building, however, the charitable trust says it will then need an endowment beyond the £11 million to ensure the continuation of the preservation of the home and gardens 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. As chairman of NHDC and ex-officio KHEPT Trustee, I will help the trust as much as I can.”
During Cllr Tyler’s first visit to the Knebworth House as a trustee, he was given a tour of the grounds and house by the person who knows it best, custodian Henry Lytton Cobbold.
The custodian pointed out work that had already been successfully completed by the charity during its 36-year history and revealed areas that need urgent repair. This included a large section of the southern roof, where water is entering and causing interior damage to the stately home. 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.”
There is also severe cracking and structural damage to the North West Turret, which has been acerbated by recent extreme weather events and is a cause for concern for KHEPT. There is currently underpinning work being carried out to half any 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.
The lavish Tudor home, near the village of Knebworth, and is well known for being a rock concert venue since the 1970s, with The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and many others have held concerts there over the years.
For more information please visit www.knebworthhouse.com/khept, and to donate, visit https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/khept/donate/
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