Grant to save historic garden wall from collapse

An 18th century wall belonging to a country house in South Yorkshire, and in danger of imminent collapse, is to be restored thanks to an Historic England grant.

The wall surrounds the kitchen garden at Cannon Hall in Barnsley. It was built in 1760 and forms part of the Grade II-listed grounds.

Barnsley Council, which owns and operates the visitor attraction – including a museum, gardens and parkland, will co-fund the project, matching the £55,000 grant.

The money will pay for the dismantling and rebuilding of the damaged section of wall, brick by brick.

The park and gardens were placed on Historic England’s At Risk Register in 2023 because of concerns about the condition of the garden wall.

The grant will see carefully dismantled bricks from the damaged section used to rebuild the wall in the traditional style, using lime mortar.

Bryan Davies, from Historic England, said: “It was leaning over at a 30-degree angle – a large proportion of it – and there really was a danger of it collapsing onto the path as people went past.

“So Cannon Hall had to fence it all off to make sure no one could get to it.”

He added that the repair work would facilitate the removal of the gardens from the Heritage at Risk Register.

Lined with fruit trees, some of which date from the 18th century, the kitchen garden previously produced fruit and vegetables for the Spencer family who owned the stately home until 1951.

It was subsequently sold to the local authority who turned the country seat into a museum, opening to the public in 1957.

Jon Finch, Head of Culture and Visitor Economy at Barnsley Council said: “We are delighted to receive this generous funding from Historic England, which will enable us to restore and repair this historic 18th century wall.

“Cannon Hall is a well-loved attraction that was visited by almost one million people last year, and this investment will preserve it for generations to come.”

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