Uppark in Sussex is one of the most attractive houses in the south of England now in the care of the National Trust. Built in about 1690 by the Earl of Tankerville, it is poised on a hilltophigh above the South Downs.Today, the house is an extraordinary testament to both late 20th century affection for the country house and to the skills of modern day restorers and conservators in both piecing things together and creating lost carving and plasterwork to replace lost parts.

Severelydamaged by a major firein August 1989, Uppark underwent an astonishing repair and reconstruction(completed in 1995, it is now 5 years old), which was made possible byinsurance and litigation.

It was also given purpose by the rescue of most of the furniture, textiles and paintings from the rooms on the first two floors.The donor family’s apartment on the top floors was completely destroyed with all its contents. The saloon survived but its handsome 18th century neo-Classical plaster ceiling designed by James Paine had to be entirely remade, and its early 19th century paint scheme.

The scrubbed oak floors survived the collapse of the ceiling, and the rescue of the furniture made it possible to recreate what Richard Haslam called in Country Life in May 25, 1995, ‘this most evocative of English rooms’.Wood carving was renewed on the doorcases and some of thishas been left exposed.The principle throughout was repair, piecing in the new material with the old and the quality of the repair adds a remarkable flavour and texture to the old.

Opening hours:

1-5pm Sundays to Thursdays

Tel: +44 (0)1730 825 857.