Leeds Castle Gets £565,000 Boost from the Culture Recovery Fund
• Leeds Castle in Kent is among 142 historic sites across England are receiving grants worth £35 million through the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
• Funding will go towards the stonework restoration of Leeds Castle paying for its vital repairs.
• The grant has been awarded by Historic England from the second round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, which is part of the Culture Recovery Fund.
• View Historic England’s video featuring specialist crafts workers whose work and skills are supported through the Heritage Stimulus Fund.
Leeds Castle in Kent is receiving a boost thanks to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
Administered on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by Historic England, 142 sites are receiving support from the second round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, bolstering local economies and supporting jobs across the country.
The funds received will go towards the project to restore the stonework of Leeds Castle’s front façade, now 200 years old, and the stonework has deteriorated over the years. Due to completion in early spring 2022, the project will involve the replacement and repair of stones, as well as repointing to the south elevation of the castle. This project is also inclusive of repairs to the east and west turret roof, as well as repairs and redecoration to the Library windows.
PAYE Stonework and Restoration is carrying out the essential work on behalf of Leeds Castle. In addition to employing local craftsmen, locally sourced Kentish Ragstone will be used, which is a robust and hard weathering stone.
Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive at Leeds Castle, said: “Leeds Castle is a national icon and one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain. The Castle has been a luxurious retreat for guests over its 900-year-old history, with owners ranging from six medieval Queens to the Anglo-American heiress, Lady Baillie, who transformed it into an elegant early 20th-century retreat and site of glamorous weekend parties for the rich and well connected.
“This phase of the long-term stonework restoration project will help to preserve the Castle for future generations to enjoy. As an independent charity, that usually supports itself through guest income, Leeds Castle has been badly affected by the downturn in business caused by the COVID 19 crisis. We are therefore delighted and extremely grateful to receive this funding from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund towards this essential conservation work.”
From Leicester to Liverpool, Wellington to Wigan, much-loved historic places will benefit from an injection of cash for vital repairs and major building programmes, many of which are currently on the National Heritage at Risk Register.
Money from the government’s £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund is intended to open up heritage and the benefits it brings to everyone, helping to level up and improve life and opportunities for people in places that need it most.
Many of the organisations and sites receiving funding enhance well-being and community connection, offering education, development opportunities and jobs in some of the most deprived communities hit hard by the impact of the pandemic.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “From local churches to ancient buildings and landscapes, the UK’s unique heritage makes our towns, cities and villages stronger, more vibrant and helps bring communities together.
“This latest funding – £35 million from our unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund – will help protect sites including Jane Austen’s House and Hampton Court Palace for future generations and help them build back better from the pandemic.”
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said: “Funding from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund is hugely welcome at a time when the people and organisations who look after our vast and varied array of heritage urgently need support to carry out essential repairs. Heritage is a fragile eco-system, with an amazing cast of characters who keep our historic places alive, with specialist skills that take time to learn and experience to perfect. These grants will protect their livelihoods as they use their expertise to help our heritage survive.
“Money from the Heritage Stimulus Fund will also keep our nationally and internationally significant heritage assets in good condition and sustain the skilled craft workforce that looks after them.”
The latest £35 million funding awards build on £52 million already allocated from the first round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, which has supported works at 800 of the country’s treasured heritage assets. This includes Blackpool’s iconic Tower Ballroom, the stunning Georgian landscape at Gibside in Gateshead and the tranquil Thornton-le-Beans Chapel in North Yorkshire.
None of these historic places would have been able to carry out crucial repair work during the pandemic without this support.