WORK on restoring East Lancashire’s ‘Downton’ – at a cost of around £500,000 – is set to begin today.

Historic Gawthorpe Hall, in Padiham, has only had a short spring season before closing for 10 months for conservation repairs.


The Elizabethan landmark was redesigned in 1850 by Sir Charles Barry, the architect involved in the Houses of Parliament and Downton backdrop, Highclere Castle.

A Gawthorpe Hall spokesman said: “The work is much-needed repairs to the fabric of the building – re-pointing outside stonework, repairs to the windows both stonework and the glass leading, and also repair work on the historic 1602 plaster ceiling in the Huntroyde bedroom.

“We are sorry for any disappointment that the closure causes but there will be regular updates about how the building work is progressing throughout the year.”

Expert conservators are expected to be drafted in, once contracts are signed by county council officials.

It has been confirmed the grounds will remain open for visitors and when the hall, which is managed by Lancashire County Council on behalf of the National Trust, reopens in February the Coach House Cafe is also set to reopen.

The bedroom, which features an oak carved bed dating back to 1650, suffered water ingress around a decade ago will be treated.

A National Trust spokesman added: “The house is affectionately referred to as the ‘Downton of the North’. It was redesigned in the 1850s by Sir Charles Barry.”

The Friends of Gawthorpe Hall group, which is now around 60 members strong, has launched an appeal leaflet.

The hall forms the last stop-off on the Bronte Way and houses The Gawthorpe Textiles Collection, an exhibit of real significance, celebrating the works of Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth, a leading light in embroidery and needlework.