Kent

Knole House gets £20m National Trust revamp

Knole in Sevenoaks Image copyright National Trust
Image caption Knole House was the home of the Sackville family for 400 years

The future of hundreds of historical objects has been secured as part of a £20m restoration by the National Trust.

Knole House in Sevenoaks, Kent, was taken over by the charity in 1946 and has battled costly decay problems.

Extensive repairs, part-funded by the National Lottery, have now been carried out in what the Trust described as its largest conservation project to date.

Specialists will also work on precious paintings and furniture in front of visitors in a newly created studio.

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Image copyright National Trust
Image caption The 17th Century Knole sofa inspired copies around the world

The 15th Century house was formerly an Archbishop's palace and for 400 years was the home of the Sackville family. It also inspired Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando.

Some of the items undergoing treatment include the 17th Century Knole sofa, which inspired copies around the world.

The Royal 'Stool of Easement', an early toilet thought to have been used by Charles II, is also among the collection.

Image copyright National Trust
Image caption The ballroom at Knole has undergone restoration
Image copyright National Trust
Image caption Visitors can watch experts restore the artefacts in the new studio

The King's Bedroom, with its suite of silver furniture and bed designed for a visit from James II, now features bespoke lighting and controlled heating systems to protect the collections.

Dame Helen Ghosh, the trust's director general, said: "Knole is one of the Trust's most important houses and this is an exciting moment where we can begin to open new spaces within this vast property to tell the story of its occupants and outstanding collections.

"The new conservation studio is a first-class space for our expert conservators to work on collections from Knole and across the trust, and share their expertise with our visitors."

The project was part-funded by a £7.75m lottery grant.

Image copyright National Trust
Image caption Among the paintings is a portrait of King Henry VIII
Image copyright National Trust
Image caption The project was part-funded by a £7.75m National Lottery grant
Image copyright National Trust
Image caption As well as restorations, new rooms have been opened to the public

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