In forgotten corner of Cobham Hall Estate in Kent is his 230-year-old ornamental dairy, on the verge of irreversible decay. The plastered cloisters have collapsed, graffiti covers the walls and the arched windows are barricaded. But the Gothic Revival dome was offered a lifeline. This is the Landmark Trust’s last rescue mission.
The association, which is transforming risky heritage buildings into self-contained accommodation, is raising £ 954,000 to renovate the crenellated shelter, appealing to its members and the public.
There is an urgent need for this project in the grounds of the Elizabethan mansion, built in the 1790s by architect James Wyatt and since transformed into a girls’ school. “Cobham Dairy is a rare and fragile survivor, but once lost such an earlier legacy cannot be recovered,” says Dr Anna Keay, director of the Landmark Trust.
From Wyatt’s original drawings, the specialists will reconstitute the modest room of the milkmaid into a room with bathroom, and the master bedroom will become a living room.
“Every room needs a complete overhaul, water and electricity to be brought into the building for the first time and the exterior to be covered with the original Welsh slate dressing, designed to keep the dairy cool, ”Keay adds.