Cobham Dairy stands in the grounds of a great Elizabethan house dating back to 1208 and was built by James Wyatt in the 1790s for the Countess of Darnley. It is a rare example of a fashionable dairy and gives insight into the lives of women in the 18th century.
The house is now home to Cobham Hall Independent School and the dairy was all but forgotten. For many years, it was in a state of disrepair, boarded up and tarnished by a build-up of grime and graffiti and on the ‘at risk’ register.
A massive £950,000 was needed for the Landmark Trust to restore this once-stunning piece of architecture to its former glory. Through a combination of fundraising efforts by the Landmark Trust, £200,000 of match funding from Ecclesiastical and a range of specialist craftspeople, the target was met and works were completed.
Ecclesiastical is delighted to support the Landmark Trust to save the irreplaceable Cobham Dairy in Kent. The dairy was one of England’s most important “at risk” buildings and is now a gleaming example of James Wayatt’s original masterpiece.
Landmark carefully researched the various techniques and materials originally used and replicated them during the restoration. This includes a rarely used slate cladding technique that gives the impression of finely dressed stone, re-made coloured glass windows, and stunning ribbed and vaulted plaster ceilings with only a couple of original examples to copy.
In May 2017, Mark Hews, CEO of Ecclesiastical Insurance visited the dairy and met with Dr Anna Keay OBE, Director of the Landmark Trust who explained what the plans were. In October 2019 Mark returned with Anna to see the transformation and see just how much the use of traditional skills and materials make all the difference. They also discussed the various obstacles Landmark and their contractors and craftspeople had to overcome, such as conservation restrictions and planning delays. The Dairy is now available to hire as a stunning holiday cottage.
View Mark’s initial visit and learn about the dairy.
You can read more about the restoration, the history of the Dairy and how you can book a stay on the Landmark Trust website.