Judging visits to the finalists of the Restoration of the Century Award will be taking place from July until September. As the panel make their way around the country over the summer, we would like to know which of the shortlist you rate the most highly. To see the selection visit www.countrylife.co.uk/restorationofthecentury and click on the number of stars that you feel each project merits. The property with the highest number of stars and the most votes will be given a special mention when the results of the competition are announced in October.
For the purposes of the award, England has been divided into five regions: north, south, east, west and London. Tim Knox, Director of the Sir John Soane’s Museum, will cover the north; Blencowe Hall in Cumbria, with its dramatic rent in a pele tower preserved as part of the restoration, and the East Bedroom at Harewood house and major landscape project at Wentworth Castle Gardens, (both in Yorkshire) . Sophie Andreae, a trustee of the Georgian Group and covering the south, will visit medieval Stoneacre Farm and part new-build Shilstone in Devon, and The Landmark Trust’s The Grange in Kent. In the east, Cavick House in Norfolk, lovingly restored as a family home, the Marble Saloon at Stowe in Buckinghamshire and the once-derelict Somersham Park House in Cambridgeshire will be visited by Will Palin of SAVE. Author Jeanette Winterson, who has recently undertaken a major restoration project of her own, will cover the houses shortlisted in the west: Eardisely Park in Herefordshire and Wardington Manor in Oxfordshire, the restoration of both of which had been brought about by major fires, and the impressive part-public part-private project at Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire. Lloyd Grossman, chairman of Heritage Link, will be looking at the three London projects: a 19th century private town house in Notting Hill, the Handel House Museum in Mayfair and the Spitalfields Trust’s commendable rescue of two complete Georgian terraces.
As they make their visits, the judges will be asked to look beyond the immediate scale of these remarkable restoration projects, and instead to consider the understated qualities that underpin them, such as sensitivity to the historic fabric of the building, ingenuity of approach and fine craftsmanship. In addition, the overall winner must be judged to be of exemplary quality and possess flair, appeal and interest.
A judging lunch will be held in September to determine the best project in each region and from this to decide the overall winner. The results will be announced in the 13 October issue of Country Life.