Mount Stewart Wins Top Conservation Award

Historic property recognised for its 'pioneering' restoration project that ran without closing grounds to the public

Mount Stewart, the famous house on the shores of Strangford Lough, has added another accolade to its growing repertoire after winning the UK’s top prize for conservation.

Last week the property, which is looked after by the National Trust, scooped the building conservation award at the 2016 RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Awards.

The honour recognised the conservation charity’s £8m restoration project which brought this family home back to its former glory.

Central Hall at Mount Stewart

Jon Kerr, general manager at Mount Stewart said: 'We are really proud to have collected this award and I believe it recognises the hard work of the project team and the hundreds of volunteers that made it all possible. We are particularly proud that we were able to keep the house open during this huge project so that our supporters and visitors could see conservation in action.

'It was a hugely exciting project that brings this family home back to its former glory and truly showcases the history of this special place. As a result of the restoration we now have a range of previously unseen rooms open to the public combined with an art collection to rival any museum or gallery in the world. If you haven’t come to visit us since we reopened there is lots to see this autumn.'

Drawing Room at Mount Stewart

Judges said the project used 'highly innovative' techniques to 'repair serious structural defects throughout the property'.

They added: 'Judges were further impressed by the clear collaboration in pioneering the approach of undertaking the works whilst maintaining the building open to the public with the highly successful outcome of increasing visitor numbers and visitor experience'.

Mount Stewart won the award ahead of competition from projects across the UK including Cardigan Castle in Wales and the Garden Building at Oxford University. Last month the grounds hosted the inaugural Festival of Conversations, which featured two days of debates, discussions and performances from a host of guests.