Despite the word ‘unprecedented’ now being used with unprecedented regularity and the lockdown entering it eighty seventh week, some work is still going on at Marble Hill House as part of the Marble Hill Revived project. You’ll remember it as the one which featured ‘garden gate’ where the project’s plan to re-model the gardens based on a plan dating from 1749 met with resistance in some quarters, including from those who said there was no evidence the gardens were ever actually laid out like that. Others just wanted to keep the fenced off bits of scrub and copses as they are rather than see newly laid out avenues of trees and flower gardens. And others were worried about trees being cut down, restrictions on access, too many visitors, not enough public space, too much of something else, probably, etc. Anyway, after various consultations and some modifications to the plan, the £6m project, funded to a large extent from the National Lottery, is now transforming aspects of the house and park.

Marble Hill House

The Coach House Cafe is closed as part of a major refurbishment there.

Coach House Cafe, Marble Hill

New trees have been planted to create an avenue from the house down to the river.

New trees

The sports pitches are being re-seeded.

Re-seeding the rugby pitch, Marble Hill

The plan also includes opening the house itself, free of charge for five days a week for seven months of the year. The re-opening of the house is scheduled for ‘2021’ which, given current levels of uncertainty may be optimistic but with 12 whole months likely to occur in 2021 it could also be achievable too. Maybe. Either way it’s going to be a while before you can have a nose around the Palladian villa built by Henrietta Howard, mistress of George II.

Marble Hill Revived

Watch this space for updates but only if you can find the time between baking banana bread, exercising with Joe Wicks and your new online choir. And above all, stay safe folks.