Four years, thirty plus progress meetings and four variations to listed building consent later, the restoration works of the Victorian Stables at Netherby Hall are finally complete. They say all projects are unique and in many ways they are, but I’m not sure I will ever have the privilege of overseeing a special project like this again. Way back in 2015 our own David Gibbon walked, climbed and crawled over every square inch of Netherby Hall to assess its condition and report back to its ambitious new owners. Their love for the property eventually led to them engaging again with GLM and putting plans in place to bring the stables back to life in the original style to be used not as a museum piece, but as a working stable.
The challenges facing the project were clear from the start. First of all, the stables were in a seriously dilapidated condition with a barely a roof, window or door between them. But what they did have was many of the original stalls, troughs and feeders which had weathered the storm (albeit with some surface corrosion) which was just enough to offer a glimpse of what the final result might be.
Another major challenge facing the team was the remains of the Roman fort Castra Exploratorum which were located a mere 4ft below the existing ground level. This required numerous archeological digs and a watching brief over the site phase along with restrictions on how long heavy machinery could remain in one place and how to introduce modern amenities to the block such as rain and foul water drainage.
Working with existing buildings always presents challenges as its near impossible to know exactly what you will discover when you start opening up areas. In the case of the stables, this caused issues with room sizes which were found to be different than first thought. In total, four variations to listed building consent were sought during the site phase, nearly all to alter the room layouts within the new accommodation blocks.
Tonnes of reclaimed slates, stone, cobbles and stables equipment were repurposed as part of this project, something I’m particularly proud of given GLM’s stance on sustainability.
I could sit and write for days about individual decisions and challenges which the team have faced over the past 4 years, but unfortunately I don’t have time! As GLM have rolled straight from the stables onto the Pele Tower restoration within the main building. I hope we continue to be involved at Netherby for years to come.
Finally, a mention to Nick Reid and the team at Prime Property Ventures for a difficult project well managed, along with Stephen Box at RNJ whose tireless measuring and quantifying kept the financials in check.
To find out more about Netherby Hall, their events, afternoon teas or staying onsite visit www.netherbyhall.co.uk or alternatively call 01228 792 732 and make sure you follow GLM on Instagram for more photos and updates.
Senior Building Surveyor