One of Clandon Park’s most important rooms has miraculously survived almost intact after the devastating fire left the 18th century mansion a burnt out shell last week (Wednesday 29 April).
While the building is being assessed for structural damage, only limited access has been granted to the least damaged parts of the house.
Among these is the Speakers’ Parlour, one of the ground floor rooms, which celebrated the three members of the Onslow family who were Speakers for the House of Commons over the centuries.
The Speakers’ Parlour remained almost intact after the fire which has enabled access to the collections that remained inside.
Removing the carpet from the Speakers’ Parlour after the fire
Objects now taken to safety include the ornate ormolu chandelier which was part of the decorative scheme from 1801, the large Turkey carpet dating from the 19th century, the decorative polished brass and steel fender from the fireplace and pieces of delicate, gilt etched glassware.
The decorative plaster ceiling in the Speakers’ Parlour, among the most magnificent in the house, has been carefully propped up to protect it, and the chimneypiece, designed by the house’s architect Giacomo Leoni in the 1720s, has also survived.
All the paintings from the room, including the portraits of Arthur Onslow, the Great Speaker, and Richard Onslow, Speaker in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, were rescued on the day of the fire.
The Speakers’ Parlour before the fire, photo: National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie
Jim Foy who is managing the salvage operation at Clandon comments: “It is heartening that we have been able to rescue more of the important items inside the house and we hope that there will be more good news as the salvage operation continues.
“We are still limited in terms of access while structural engineers assess the building. The weather is also a big factor as we wait to see how the building responds to conditions like the high winds we have had over the past couple of days. We are incredibly grateful for the continued support we are receiving from volunteers, external specialists, the fire service and many others.”
An investigation is underway to identify the cause of the fire.
It is too early to say what the longer term plans will be for Clandon Park but donations raised will help it to face its uncertain future. To make a donation please call 0344 800 1895 or donate online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/donate