Rare hi-tech Victorian shutters will today (24th May 2018), finally let in the light at one of Yorkshire’s finest country houses, Brodsworth Hall, having been returned to working order as part of a £1.5m conservation project by English Heritage.
The new-fangled Francis & Co. patent Victorian revolving window shutters were just one of the many mod-cons adopted by the wealthy Thellusson family when they built their grand new home between 1861 and 1863. Packed with all the latest conveniences Victorian technology could offer, Brodsworth Hall and Gardens was intended to be the ultimate residence for the Jones’s to keep up with. But as the fortunes of the family waned, it gradually fell into disrepair. When the house came into the care of English Heritage, the interiors were conserved ‘as found’ to preserve the original decorative scheme as well as later additions and alterations across the generations.
Now painstaking work by the charity’s conservation specialists has been carried out to the Hall along with its contents. Roof lanterns in the kitchen have been made watertight, French doors and windows have been repaired and re-decorated and the house’s historic heating system has been adapted to ensure effective temperature control to protect the interiors. As well as the shutters, window pelmets have been repaired and replica glass has been handmade for the lanterns in the kitchen. A painting by renowned society painter Sir Thomas Lawrence, dating to 1804, and featuring the grandmother and father of the builder of Brodsworth, Charles Sabine Thellusson, has been cleaned and conserved in English Heritage’s paintings studio. All together 1164 objects in 27 rooms in the house were moved; 94 metres of historic carpet was rolled for cleaning and 320 chandelier pieces were individually cleaned.