Visiting Clandon Park after the Fire

Bank Holiday Sunday’s are made for visiting National Trust properties.  That’s what we did at the beginning of May, complete with Grandma, piling into the car and heading out to the Surrey Hills.  One tiny niggle played at the back of my mind …… was it worth visiting Clandon Park after the fire?

Clandon Park scaffolding

Three years earlier on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, an electrical fault triggered a small fire.  By the end of 29 April 2015, sixteen fire engines and eighty firefighters had been unable to stop Clandon Park being reduced to a shell.  Only one room, the Speakers Parlour, remained intact.  Now the National Trust faced a dilemma …. what should it do with the smouldering ruin?

The house was insured but the £65 million or so would only be forthcoming for work on the house, it could not just be collected and deployed elsewhere.  Should they rebuild a replica?  Or should they secure the shell and leave it as it is?  Architects Allies and Morrison have been appointed to breathe life back into the building but it is a project that will take a long time. Meanwhile it is possible to don a hard hat and see the ruin for yourself.

Visiting Clandon Park after the fire Hard hats

A walkway has been constructed that lets you see the gutted remains of three rooms with tantalising glimpses beyond to the bare brick spaces beyond. This was the Marble Hall, a perfect double cube of a room, topped with an ornate plaster work ceiling depicting the tale of Hercules and Omphale: amazingly enough fragments were recovered to facilitate the reconstruction of the ceiling but for now you gaze up beyond the floor of bedrooms to the sky. How those ornate marble fireplaces carved by John Michael Rysbrack in the eighteenth century survived is a mystery.

Clandon Park MarbleHall after the fire

Venus surveys walls of bare brick where once she oversaw a sea of marble and stucco.

Venus Clandon Park Marble Hall after the fire

Even more incredible is the fact that wooden panelling and even some fragments of wallpaper have survived in the State Bedroom.

Clandon Hall State Bedroom fire damage

Downstairs in the basement, which was once the site of a really rather good restaurant, the options for restoration are put forward and you are asked for your views on how the building should be restored and used in the future.

Visiting Clandon Park after the fire mirror in basement showing damage

Do you know Clandon Park?  What do you think should happen to the building in future?


  • Opening times: Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
  • Admission House and Garden: Adult £8, child £4
  • National Trust members go free
  • Clandon Park, West Clandon, Surrey GU4 7RQ
  • Clandon Park is a 15 minute walk from Clandon Rail Station


Visiting Clandon Park After the Fire

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    • May 27, 2018 / 9:02 am

      I think that the debris from the falling roof and floors above was very deep immediately after the fire

  1. May 27, 2018 / 6:15 am

    I think I remember a photo from the time of the fire with Venus pretty much the only thing left standing? It’s great that you can go and see the work in progress. Your photos are beautiful, even though it’s such a sad sight. #MySundayPhoto

  2. May 27, 2018 / 7:23 am

    must have been a hard decision for the National Trust, if they restore it it is no longer what you originally saw but a modern day interpretation that could never recreate the wall paper and furnishings etc. Brave of them to undertake the restoration rather than just securing the remains. #MySundayPhoto

    • May 27, 2018 / 9:00 am

      I suppose that the large pot of insurance money helped sway them

  3. Darren Coleshill
    May 27, 2018 / 8:23 am

    It’s quite haunting to see the damage, it will never be the same.

    Have a good Sunday and thank you for linking up to #MySundayPhoto

    • May 27, 2018 / 9:00 am

      It will be interesting to see what they do

  4. Susanna Bavin
    May 27, 2018 / 9:22 am

    What poignant photos. The visit must have been both fascinating and sobering. It is interesting that the National Trust is asking for visitors’ views on what to do. What do you think would right thing, Catherine?

    • May 27, 2018 / 9:37 am

      I think a mixture….. so recreate the Marble Hall but have the structure and history of the building in display too. I quite fancy the idea of a rooftop viewing place with the added facility for afternoon tea as well.

  5. May 27, 2018 / 10:55 am

    So sad, I hope they continue to work on it.

    • May 27, 2018 / 11:10 am

      They have big plans but it will take time

  6. May 27, 2018 / 7:46 pm

    Really interesting to see the photos, this is just up the road from my parents. #mysundayphoto

  7. May 31, 2018 / 5:11 pm

    Such a shame about the fire, but it must’ve been an interesting experience to see it that way! Thanks for sharing.

    • June 1, 2018 / 6:08 pm

      A real shame but they have learnt so much about the building

  8. June 3, 2018 / 5:50 pm

    It’s so stunning even in its own tragic way post fire. I can’t imagine how beautiful it must have been before it!

    • June 3, 2018 / 6:51 pm

      Oddly now it is unique in its beauty but before it was just another NT house

  9. June 3, 2018 / 7:28 pm

    I felt so sad seeing all the damage which has been done, Catherine. Clandon Park must have been so wonderful. Neverthless, I would love to visit it now and feel this kind of experience.

    • June 3, 2018 / 8:04 pm

      I am fascinated to see what happens next

  10. Clare Thomson
    June 24, 2018 / 11:38 am

    How terrible that a fire destroyed so much of this beautiful house! I hope they manage to restore as much of it as possible to its former glory. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  11. bavariansojourn
    July 28, 2018 / 8:10 am

    You can still see how beautiful it was though, how sad. I had no idea. It’s so hard to decide what to do with it as someone else said it just be a replica, but equally sad if nothing was done to it though…

    • July 28, 2018 / 8:54 am

      Having just seen the fabulous restoration of the Reichstag and the Neues Musrum in Berlin, keeping old with new can work extremely well

  12. July 29, 2018 / 10:49 am

    It will be fantastic to re-visit once the restoration programme is completed. The place certainly has beautiful bones. #CULTUREDKIDS

  13. Trish @ Mum's Gone To
    July 30, 2018 / 10:35 am

    I’m mesmerised by Venus who really does look exposed and in despair at the damage around her.

    • July 30, 2018 / 5:22 pm

      She does doesn’t she, hopefully she is marshalling the gods into a working party for repair!

  14. July 30, 2018 / 12:14 pm

    Lovely photos Catherine. It’s an interesting dilemma for the NT. £65 mill sounds a lot but probably isn’t when you consider what might need doing. I think it would be a shame to build an exact replica – perhaps some kind of halfway house could showcase the restoration processes and the way the house developed over the years?

    • July 30, 2018 / 5:23 pm

      I know, but a lot not to use as well.

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