Historic Houses Restoration Award goes to Ilford Manor

Iford Manor in Wiltshire wins 2020 Historic Houses / Sotheby’s Restoration Award

15 Mar 2021

Following a delay of over 6 months due to Covid-19 restrictions affecting the judging process, the prize recognises the repair and consolidation of the Grade II* cloisters built by influential architect and landscape designer Harold Peto.

Iford Manor is a Tudor house with a 18th century classical front, renowned for its romantic gardens, which recently appeared on the big screen in The Secret Garden (2020). The cloisters at Iford Manor were constructed in 1914 by Harold Peto and are considered his most important architectural achievement.

Ilford Manor cloister.jpg
© Neosnaps - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license Iford Manor - interior of the Cloisters

The building was in danger of collapse as its shallow clay foundations had dried out in the drought of 2018, which was causing subsidence. The restoration project saw the laying of new foundations, reconstruction of dismantled walls, and the replacement of a 1980s lime render and restoration of original colour schemes. Original fabric was used wherever possible and modern replacements were obtained from local, vernacular sources.

Owner William Cartwright Hignett commented on the restoration work:

Our aim was to ensure that the building’s spirit remained intact while we assured its structural future. We’ve saved the building from collapse, but it still feels like that ‘haunt of ancient peace’ that Peto intended. Now it’s safe to use it can be appreciated on visits to the garden, as a very special venue for events, and as a private chapel, for generations to come. 

Find out more about the award here.

Backlog of repairs

Historic Houses represents 1,500 of the UK’s independently owned historic houses, castles and gardens. According to the organisation, historic houses, castles, and gardens across the UK are facing a backlog of repair work in excess of £1.4 billion, with over £400 million being classed as urgent.

Despite Coronavirus-related challenges, hundreds of independent historic houses are finding ways to cope with the crisis. Over 800 properties are reported to be hoping to open their doors later this year for sightseers, private tours, overnight stays, weddings, festivals, and filming.