Painstaking restoration work to 12th and 18th century parts of Newstead Abbey has been completed on the West Front and Cannon Fort.

The end result of six months of work on the Grade 1 listed building was unveiled yesterday (Monday 16 December), with officials from funders Historic England and the World Monument Fund joining the Lord Mayor of Nottingham Cllr Rosemary Healy and Portfolio for Leisure and Culture Cllr Dave Trimble to mark the occasion.

The conservation work has been carried out on the Abbey’s 12th Century West Front and 18th Century Cannon Fort. It has been delivered since June by Sally Strachey Heritage Conservation Ltd and managed by architects Purcell UK, after several years of planning and fund-raising.

The project has been a feat of collaboration and a major achievement for England’s heritage, involving national and international support. The £248,088 total was reached through a grant from Historic England of £151,334, £57,000 from the World Monuments Fund, and £101,666 from the City Council, of which £78,983 came from donations and initiatives such as the Adopt A Stone appeal. Additional support has been provided by the Newstead Abbey Partnership and Arts Council England to facilitate the restoration project.

Councillor Trimble said: “Newstead Abbey and Gardens is one of Nottinghamshire’s flagship sites which has been loved by generations of people.

“We are delighted that with the generous help from Historic England, the World Monument Fund and the Adopt a Stone Appeal we have now successfully completed our restoration of the West Front and Cannon Fort, safeguarding the future of these fabulous structures for future generations.”

The official ribbon cutting event is an opportunity to celebrate the conservation efforts made by all teams involved and view the breath-taking work that has been accomplished through the repair of the West Front and Cannon Fort. 

John Darlington, Executive Director of the World Monument Fund said: “World Monuments Fund placed Newstead Abbey on our global Watch list in 2012 where it featured alongside 99 other sites of outstanding international importance. Given its importance, both as a historical abbey and as a home to the extraordinary Byron family, we are delighted to contribute to the restoration of the West Front. Thanks to the partnership’s enduring support for conservation work such as this, it remains a wonderful historic asset that can be enjoyed by all.”

Louise Brennan, Regional Director Midlands for Historic England said “The West Front at Newstead Abbey has been on Historic England’s national Heritage at Risk Register since 1998. That’s why the Historic England team is delighted to see the positive results of its work with Nottingham City Council so the public can once again enjoy this medieval beauty.”

Dr Patrick Candler, Chairman of the Newstead Abbey Partnership said: “Our voluntary run Partnership was set up in 2013 to support the work of the City Council in the restoration of the Abbey. With backing from the World Monument Fund we decided that the West Front would be our priority project. After campaigning for more than six years it is wonderful to see that our efforts have helped to bring in much needed funding to enable the works to have been completed.”

This is part of a programme of restoration work that will start again in the spring.

With work on these areas now complete, visitors will be able to enjoy the beauty of Newstead Abbey and Gardens to full effect.