Clearing Castle collection for £3m renovation

Lindisfarne Castle 
Picture by Jane Coltman
Lindisfarne Castle Picture by Jane Coltman

The National Trust’s expert conservators will be packing up Lindisfarne Castle’s historic collection this week in preparation for its £3million restoration.

The much-loved, grade 1-listed building is set to close for major works from Tuesday (November 1) until April 2018.

The packing-up process is expected to take seven days, with almost 1,000 museum-quality artefacts being removed from the Castle and stored for the duration of the conservation works.

The intricate process will be led by the Trust’s conservator, John Wynn Griffiths, and supported by more than 30 staff and volunteers from five other National Trust places.

John said: “Packing and removing the collections from the Castle is a complex and challenging task.

“We will use 130 plastic crates and several of our most fragile pieces will have bespoke containers designed to house them during the move.

“Staff and volunteers will be trained on how to handle the pieces, making sure they’re well cared for in their temporary home.

“Some of our collection items, such as the 3.5-metre dining table, made of a single sheet of walnut, have never left the Castle since their arrival, so this really is a unique occasion.”

One of the highlights of the collection is a 19th-century wooden model ship, The Henrietta, which hangs from the ceiling via a wire pulley system and must be carefully lowered ready for the conservation work to begin.

Made in Amsterdam around 1840, it was bought by Castle architect Edwin Lutyens to decorate the Ship Room.

Perhaps the most recognisable piece is the 100-year-old wind indicator, which is set onto an oil painting and depicts a highly-detailed and decorative map of the Northumberland coast with its scattering of castles.

While the Castle will remain closed for the restoration, visitors will still be able to enjoy walks around the gardens and headland as well as enjoying the other attractions of Holy Island.

For the latest information about the conservation project and what there is to see and do at the site, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lindisfarne