North Entrance Steps Repairs, Croome Court
National Trust West Midlands Region
Croome Court is an impressive Palladian style country mansion house built c.1751-52 for the 6th Earl of Coventry to the design of Lancelot (Capability) Brown and the contemporary “gentleman” architect Sanderson Miller.
Brown also designed the surrounding parkland and the integrated “landscape park” represents his pioneering vision for what became known as the “English Landscape Style”. Many of the house’s interior features and parkland buildings (panorama) are the work of Robert Adam c.1760, with later additions by the architect James Wyatt.
Croome Court is listed grade I on account of its “exceptional architectural and historic interest” within the national heritage context. The house is built of limestone ashlar and conforms to a rectangular double-depth plan of nine bays length and two storeys height, with taller square “pavilions” at each corner. The central three bays of the north front project forward slightly about the principal entrance and are surmounted by a triangular pediment featuring the Coventry family’s coat of arms.
Directly in front of the principal entrance on the north front are the north entrance steps. Formed by two flanking flights of stairs, each with a mid landing, the steps had previously undergone extensive unsympathetic repair works. A number of the original piers, balusters, copings and plinths were removed and replaced with concrete replicas. The majority of these were now in poor condition with a vast number of the balusters cracked where internal ironwork had rusted.
The work involved extensive replacement of these concrete elements in favour of new limestone versions. Most of the original stonework was discovered in the park, and as such the original profiles have been replicated. Including the 3 different profiles for the balusters. Unfortunately the condition of the original stones made them unusable in the repair works.
Also forming part of the contract was the repair of the Lias stone paving and stair treads. These were replaced with Royal Forest of Dean Pennant stone in a grey/green tone to match the existing.
The central bay balustrade and the flanking piers were still original and these were sensitively repaired where practicable. Unfortunately a few of the balusters had deteriorated beyond repair; these were replaced on a like for like basis.
The project was made possible by generous funding from Natural England and was completed in 2008.