2016 project update

2 weeks ago the scaffolding on the central section started to come down as this part of the roof is now complete, here are a few of the photos.

scaffolgin dec 4 2015

The scaffolders were here in December putting up platforms to work from.

scaffolding dec 2015


scaffolding dec 2 2015

These photos show the roofing sheets being taken off (the crane was here to take scaffolding poles down to the ground).

scaffolding dec 3 2015

This photo shows a mason working by the Front door.



Telling stories through photographs

Mike Smallcombe 

One of the creative partners working at Castle Drogo is the established photographer Mike Smallcombe. Mike has recently been working in the garden and on the estate, gathering images to go towards a series of 10 large-scale photographs that will be displayed around the site.

Mike’s conceptual journey began with ideas to represent the human story of Castle Drogo and create intriguing and rich images. The inspiration of these photographs will bring a wider understanding of the Castle, inspired by the people who lived there, the history of the estate and the landscape of Dartmoor.

The team have been following Mike throughout his work as he focuses on particular areas of the Castle grounds.

 mike smallcombe 1

This image shows Mike working on angles, light and positioning for one of his ten photographs that will be installed and open to see at the Castle this summer. The photograph that Mike is working on in this image will interpret the Castle’s collection in the context of the formal garden.

 mike smallcombe 2

This second image, shows Mike working near Fingle Bridge on the Drogo estate. This image shows Mike positioned on one side of the bridge taking a picture of the forest on the other side. This photograph incorporates stories of the Drewe family in the setting of the estate.

These photographs will ultimately capture references to historical stories inspired by Castle Drogo and the surrounding landscape, displayed in a contemporary setting. The team look forward to working with Mike throughout his development of his beautifully thought-provoking images.


A sneak peek at what’s coming

Studio visit

A sneaky snap-shop at a model-box in the making at Forkbeard Fantasy in Devon.

Towards the end of December the Creative Programming Manager, along with other team members, made a visit to see the studios of fantastic creative teams MDesign and Forkbeard Fantasy. Both teams are busily working away in their studios producing new interpretational artwork for Castle Drogo.

Both studios, based near Tiverton in Devon, have a range of exciting and adventurous works inside. The artists are developing their sculptural, interactive and humorous work. They showed the team glimpses of the drawings, sketchbooks, model boxes and animation studios.

Forkbeard Fantasy, well known for their theatrical puppetry and animations, describe themselves in the most appropriate way as ‘Architects of Humour and Invention’. Their large enchanting studio is a play-ground of not just those with creative minds but to all. Generating the ideology that ‘anything is possible’, the artists at Forkbeard are working towards an engaging experience which will be translated into the sculptures they are producing for the Castle.

The creative work to capture the history and progress of the building project at Castle Drogo is making fantastic progress and can be seen at the opening on 9th March 2015.

October building update

What are the builders doing in October?

Recent tours up onto the roof have highlighted how much has changed on site and produced some very interesting photos.

IMG_4979                     IMG_5021

  • Reconstruction of the south wing continues to progress with the parapet walls now starting to be rebuilt.
  • The repointing of the south wing is all well advanced. (see picture below).IMG_4965
  • At ground level the west forecourt door has been reconstructed (see picture below).IMG_5048
  • The Bauder membrane is continuing to be laid. (see picture below).
  • IMG_4983
  • A crane was here on the 1 October to lift the granite lintels back onto the lantern light on the south wing of the building.

What’s next?

  • The contractor is still on schdule to complete the south wing at the end of the year.
  • Next March our interpretation within the castle will completely change so make sure that you visit us soon.

The latest news from the scaffold….

Building work has been progressing well and if you climb up the vieiwng tower and look down on the site you can really appreciate how much the builders have been up to;

The new Bauder roof membrane
The laying of the Bauder membrane is continuing and a large part of the vertical sections of the south wing have now been covered. The occasional whiff of hot bitumen is created by the hot torching method used to lay the system.

Rebuilding of masonry has started – mainly out of sight on the east side of the castle to date, sections of walling are being rebuilt following the completion of sections of the Bauder membrane.

Pointing is almost complete on the east side of the south wing and also on the south elevation. It is also well advanced on the west side.
• The lantern light over the staircase is now well advanced  the windows mullions and transoms are being reassembled and a crane will be on site to return the large lintels.

If you would like to find out more come and visit us on Wednesday 29 October for Meet the Builders day, there will be demonstrations and activities as well as behind the scenes tours (restrictions apply, £2 per person).


Project update

It is quite amazing to think that over half the year has gone already, and work at Drogo is progressing well. The view from the top of the viewing tower has changed dramatically over the last few months and you can really appreciate what the builders have been up to.

Recently the builders have been;
– Repointing of the south and east wings is well advanced.


-Bauder membrane is being laid on the roof starting with vertical sections.

 IMG_4599( view of the roof)

-The East window (the tallest window in the castle) has all the glass back in, we are however waiting for the builders to complete the sealing of these windows.

What’s next?

-Stonework reinstatement will increase during July. This has already started on the east wing.

– More scaffolding is being erected so that the builders can remove the remainder of the parapet.

-The work is continuing to the programme we expect with the south wing being finished for Christmas.

If you would like to know more our project manager leads Hard Hat tours on the building site. Please look at the Castle Drogo website for more details.


How is the building work going?

But first for some facts;

  • 2,600 granite blocks will be removed and taken down to the ground.
  • Remove and repair 913 brass framed windows, we have taken out over 400 to date.
  • Raking out and reporting 64km of mortar joints-that stretches from Drogo to Lundy.

Good progress on the roof is being made (despite the adverse weather we recently experienced!) Over 60% of the masonry had been dismantled, these blocks are from the parapet and structures above roof level so that the high tech roof system (Bauder membrane) which will finally make the roof watertight can be installed.  In fact the first sections of the Bauder membrane have already been installed , the area that this membrane will eventually  cover  is equivalent to the area of almost 2 football pitches.

However, before the blocks are removed and taken down to the ground it seemed like a good opportunity to clean them. After over 100 years the granite has become discoloured due to organic matter and mortar staining.

 - Steve Haywood

You can see all of this work going on by climbing up the project viewing platform, which is open daily from the 8 March (weather and staffing permitting, restrictions apply). It gives you a real sense of how much work is involved in making the castle watertight and watching the builders at work. You can also admire from inside how impressive the scaffolding structure is. The total area of the temporary roofing is equivalent to 6 tennis courts, and the amount of poles amounts to 24,700!

Steve Haywood