• richardfree


Updated: Aug 4

A: It's a survey of a heritage property that lasts five years, and every historic place of significance should have one (carried out every five years).

We have just been involved in the 'QQ' survey of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, which is the second largest estate in the English Heritage portfolio. It was Queen Victoria's principal residence in her later life and was bequeathed to the nation after her death.

The Estate is extensive and covers everything from all the buildings and parkland down to the beach. There is even a 'Swiss Chalet', and a wheeled Bathing Hut that have to be reported upon as well as the terracing and gardens all noted and reported in a quinquennial format.

Internally everything and every room has to be inspected from the State Rooms to Prince Albert's loo. The latter is not shown to the public although Queen Victoria's is - or was until members of the public felt that it would be funny to use it!

Whilst there are many fantastic rooms open to the public there are far more that are rather mundane but still need inspecting to the same level - for example the dozens of coal bunkers.

Its not all gilt and glory, sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth.

At the end of the process a report is produced, the status of the fabric and conditions is listed and prioritised and works are recommended to be carried out with budgets applied. Every historic building and estate should have this done, as in the long run it will prolong the life of the asset and save the owner money.

Most public bodies with estates carry this process out with their Heritage Assets, including the MOD where we have security clearance to carry out such work.

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