Episode 1: Halswell Park
The first instalment in the Halswell Park documentary series.
Through interviews with art and architecture historian Roy Bolton, conservation director Mark Lidster and project architect Claire Fear, we delve into the history and legacy of historic Halswell House, how it came into the hands of current owner Edward Strachan and his vision of restoring the manor to its former glory as a true British landmark.
The chimney stacks at Halswell consist of two distinct groups; those hidden within the formal architecture of the Baroque north wing, and those that survived from the Tudor manor with its later additions in the 1590’s and beyond. During the nineteenth century and the 1920s all of the chimneys were rebuilt above the roofline, either using big new redbrick stacks typical of a robust Victorian roofline, or hidden completely within the parapet of the seventeenth-century Baroque wing. As enticing as it seemed for us to remove the Victorian redbrick and attempt to re-create the older mix of chimneys, there were no remaining features to work with, and although the Victorian brick has a different feel, they are honest indicators of the house living through that period, and as such are important historically in their own right. Therefore, in consultation with conservation authorities, the decision was made that the redbrick would be maintained, and the mixture of twentieth century pots that cap them should be removed and replaced with more sympathetic features.
Development seen through historic images from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Halswell Baroque North Wing, dated 1689. Painting c.1710
Formal Gardens, c.1710, by the same hand. The high redbrick walls, gate pillars with armorial beasts, fountain and formal layout were all demolished during the 1740’s as was the rectangular Banqueting House of c. 1690 in the centre ground which was gone by the mid-eighteenth century to make way for the circular Rotunda of 1755.