Raising the roof at Chiswick House

Renovation under way at iconic local building

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The first signs of a programme of repairs to Chiswick House by English Heritage appeared this week as scaffolding was erected around the celebrated 18th century villa. The repairs are the first significant works to Chiswick House since a major restoration after the Second World War.

As well as removing and replacing sections of the roof, the repairs involve the complete removal and replacement of the Villa's unusual eaves guttering. A key part of the project will be the removal of the failed render and paint from the north elevation, with its replacement using hydraulic lime, a more sympathetic and traditional material than was used in the 1950s.

English Heritage's Head of Property Management, Juliet West, said "Chiswick House is famous world-wide, a local icon and an important tourist attraction for Hounslow. Work is being carried out over the winter to avoid scaffolding the building during the busy summer season and we aim to complete the repairs by the end of March 2005."

Cllr John Chatt, Executive Member LBH added "Chiswick House is a precious part of Hounslow's history, and it is essential that it is preserved, along with its grounds, for the public to enjoy. The work undertaken this winter will help ensure its future, and Hounslow Council will be working with English Heritage to resolve the issue of harnessing enough funding to maintain and protect the whole site."

Minor repairs to the central dome will also be carried out, and a temporary roof will be erected to protect the building from the winter weather while the work is being carried out.

John Armstrong, Deputy Chairman of Chiswick House Friends, said "The current work to repair Chiswick House as absolutely vital to the preservation of this unique and historic building, not only for ourselves but for the generations to come, and we support all measures to maintain its integrity and appeal."

Further phases of repair to the remaining elevations of the Villa and to the Link Building and Summer Parlour are planned.

The Palladian Villa and garden were created by Richard, 3rd Earl of Burlington at the beginning of the 18th century and are of international significance in the history of European culture and design. It was William Kent's pioneering work in the 1730s that gives Chiswick its claim as one of the birthplaces of the English landscape garden.

December 22, 2004