The new-look Sizergh Castle includes a "bat cam". Picture courtesy National Trust
A £1.3 million English Heritage-aided project to renovate a 14th century Cumbrian castle has been completed almost two years after renovations began.
Sizergh Castle in Kendal has undergone major repair works including pointing removal, chimney rendering, parapet rebuilding and roof insulation, replacing the cement structure of the tower with traditional lime mortar to reveal the natural stone building and preserve it from damp.
“What made the project challenging was undertaking the work without closing the castle to the public, and without risking damage to its historic interior or precious contents,” reflected Tom Slater, who managed the project on behalf of the National Trust.
Local contractor Cox and Allen used lead workers and plasterers to resurrect leaking roofs and masons within the castle’s two-metre thick walls, earning praise from Slater for their “great care” in protecting the bats populating the surrounding habitat.
“The results look fantastic and will help preserve the fabric and interior of the castle for many years to come,” he added. “We’re very grateful to English Heritage for its support in helping to fund this vital work.”
Historic glazing and carved stonemasonry and the front garden steps of the heritage hotspot have also been repaired in work which began in the summer of 2007 and had been scheduled to finish by the end of 2008.
Visitors can see photos and videos of the improvements and watch the movements of Sizergh’s winged residents through a special “bat cam” set up at the site, which re-opened on March 15 2009.
Sandy Roy, Historic Buildings Architect for English Heritage, said: “We are pleased to have been able to help the National Trust with this important repair project, particularly encouraging the use of traditional materials and craft skills, which have undoubtedly enhanced the appearance of the building.”