Somerset

Montacute House orangery reopens with new roof

Orangery at Montacute House
Image caption About 2,380 glass panes from the old glazed roof had to be refitted into the new one

The orangery at a 16th Century Somerset mansion has reopened - more than two years after the collapse of its roof.

The timber and glass roof of Montacute House's orangery, which was added to the property in the 1840s, had fallen in under the weight of snow.

A National Trust spokesman said the roof restoration presented a "huge jigsaw puzzle" because 2,380 glass panes all had to be refitted.

The work cost £10,000, which was raised via a raffle.

The glass panes were recorded and carefully removed and the roof dismantled, all done in sight of visitors who were able to climb to a platform on the scaffolding and see the work being carried out.

The orangery was originally used to cover winter orange trees which spent the summer on the terrace by the house.

Before it reopened, the building was repopulated with various plants.

Bay trees

Parks and garden manager, Lottie Allen, said: "Sadly we lost the old planting during the time when we couldn't get into the unsafe building.

But we've now tidied up the interior and have it replanted for this year with Pelargoniums, using a variety called Octavia Hill to celebrate the centenary of one of our founders."

To recreate the effect of the orange trees, clipped bay trees have been used, although Ms Allen would like to return the building to its traditional use.

She said: "I'd love to put the oranges back but for the moment we have the bay trees and we're just celebrating the work to restore the orangery which looks great, our visitors all love it , many having watched it being repaired."

Montacute House was built for Sir Edward Phelps in the late 16th Century and is run by the National Trust.

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