Goodbye to chequered past as Mount Stewart fully restored

Newly completed Mount Stewart Central Hall
Newly completed Mount Stewart Central Hall

The last stage of a long-running restoration of one of the Province’s most well-known stately homes has now been unveiled.

The black-and-white chequered floor of the grand Central Hall at Mount Stewart has been transformed, bringing it in line with how it would have looked in the 1840s.

The hall occupying the centre of the house, as it was. The hall is one of William Vitruvius Morrison's most ambitious interiors. Pic Bernie Brown

The hall occupying the centre of the house, as it was. The hall is one of William Vitruvius Morrison's most ambitious interiors. Pic Bernie Brown

The transformation marks the final stage of a three-year, £8m project by conservation charity the National Trust, aimed at restoring the ansion on the shores of Strangford Lough to its former glory.

The Trust said that whilst some visitors regarded the chequered floor as “iconic” it was in fact only added in the 1960s.

At a cost of £300,000, the floor restoration has taken around six months, and included the removal of the linoleum tiles and underlying compound; cleaning and resurfacing of the original stone floor, and the repair and replacement of stones where required.

It said: “The finished result is spectacular and perfectly complements the recently restored stone coloured walls, giving the Central Hall an almost cathedral-like quality.”

Mount Stewart conservators at work on removing the modern tiles in Central Hall to reveal the floor which dates back to the 1840s

Mount Stewart conservators at work on removing the modern tiles in Central Hall to reveal the floor which dates back to the 1840s

Speaking ahead of the floor’s debut, project manager and regional conservator for the National Trust Claire Magill said: “This has been a complex conservation project involving a team of skilled specialists who carefully and expertly revealed and restored the magnificent Scrabo stone floor.

“The colour of the pale stone allows the blue hues on the woodwork to shine, and the mirroring pattern of the floor and glass ceiling which was revealed during the project, is a testament to the intricate design of this fabulous building.

“The Central Hall is at the heart of this wonderful building and it will be a pleasure to see the hall once again playing host to guests and social events.”