Hope Springs Eternal - The Deepdene Heritage Trail

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Application Type

AABC Conservation

Level of Award

Highly Commended

Region

South East

Local Authority Area

Mole Valley

Information about this scheme

Following the 2008 exhibition on Thomas Hope at the Victoria & Albert Museum and then the Bard Centre, New York, interest was awakened in Hope and his largely forgotten contribution to shaping arguably the most colourful period of English history – the Regency. In 2009 Mole Valley District Council and the Mausolea and Monuments Trust decided to rescue the sole surviving complete building built by Hope – Statutory List Listed Grade II* The Hope Mausoleum, which included the conservation, repair and restoration of the historic structures found along the walk. The Mausoleum was partially demolished and buried in 1957 by the predecessor of MVDC to prevent further vandalism that was being faced. The project grew with a devoted band of local volunteers working on site helping the Council to restore the parkland setting around the mausoleum. This led to the discovery of more of the historic landscape hidden under years of neglect. The regeneration project was awarded a Heritage Lottery Grant to repair the key architectural and landscape features and uncover and reconnect the hidden Deepdene Estate. The Mausoleum consists of an ante-chamber leading to the vaulted burial chamber in the plan of a Cross located beneath ground level. The ground in front was excavated to a re-entrant courtyard within brick retaining walls finished in a cementitious render with raised plinth. These were carried back as retaining walls to the burial chamber and surmounted by iron railings, carried across on a brick wall to secure the site and define its extent. Photographic archives showed side walls and the rear wall extending the full width of the site, the detail of which created a picture of the missing elements. They showed the courtyard and dwarf wall with stone copings surmounted by railings. A pair of iron entrance gates were hung from latticework pylons. Careful removal of the oversite earth revealed the lead plugs of the balusters, iron cramps, wall bases and the extent of fresh backfill to add to the growing picture of the missing elements. The proposal included reconstruction of the missing elements of the retaining, side and rear walls together with the front courtyard wall with railings and gates using the sound salvaged material found on site; and using the photographic records and images. The project was open to engagement with the community from its inception and throughout the works. The Mausoleum and the wider gardens and structures are accessible to the public 365 days a year with the on-site events, community activities delivered by the Friends of Deepdene volunteers who have been caring for the site since 2011 and organise guided tours and Heritage Open Days. The project enables people to discover and learn about one of the most enigmatic and important forgotten figures in the nation’s visual art history, the incomparable Thomas Hope.

Credits

Client

Mole Valley District Council

Conservation Architect

Robin Nugent Architects

Structural Engineer

Hockley and Dawson Consulting Engineers Ltd

Quantity Surveyor

John Griggs Associates

Main Contractor

PAYE Conservation

Blacksmith

Michael Hart

Technical Advisor

Chichester Stoneworks Ltd

Primary Use Class

Class E1 - Public Realm