A PROJECT to replace the leaky roof of Tredegar House is giving schools, community groups and families the chance to “make their mark” by writing a message on new roof tiles.
The National Trust Wales, who manage the 17th century manor house, is offering visitors the chance to sign a limited number of the 10,000 slate tiles as part of a £1.3million restoration project.
The #signaslate scheme marks National Trust Wales’ five-year guardianship of the site and for a £20 donation, visitors can write a message on tiles that will adorn the interior of the new roof space and protect the 17th century rooms below.
Ahead of the scheme rolling out over half term, pupils from Duffryn Infant School and groups including the Friends of Tredegar House (FOTH) attended to sign their slates today.
Chair of Friends of FOTH, Judith Rice,said she was “excited” about the project.
The group — which was set up in 1980 as a charitable trust — was Newport City Council’s “first point of contact” for any artefacts or restoration works that had to be carried out at the site.
“We have played an awful big part with this house and were thrilled when the National Trust took over the lease on it. There is so much history in this house and it’s nice to be able to portray it to the public who come visit,” she said.
The restoration works aim to stabilise humidity levels in the house to protect paintings and interiors in response to around 600 litres of water spilling through the roof space every year.
The ongoing works include a new roof of Welsh slate, repairs to the chimneys, new lighting and fire protection in the roof space.
Tredegar House building surveyor, Sarah Parr, stated the current roof slates were “at the end of their life” with nails rusting and slates slipping.
Speaking about the #signaslate project, she said: “It looks to be a really exciting event to give the community and a wider audience the opportunity to be the lasting legacy of this project. Hopefully the messages will be on the roof for another hundred years.”
Tredegar House manager, Rhiannon Gamble, said the project is about “carrying on the story (of Tredegar House) and making brand new history with our community”.
“As long as we can keep this great property going, we can keep our doors open to our local communities and visitors from beyond and that’s really exciting,” she said.
Tredegar House was built by the Morgan family who came to South Wales in the early 15th century. Today the house receives thousands of visitors each year who come to see its gardens and its 90-acre parkland.
Tredegar House tour guide, Steffan Elllis, added: “During WW2 American servicemen left their mark such as their numbers and where they came from.
“In other places in the house we have got the names and signatures of schoolgirls who stayed there when Tredegar House was St Joseph’s School.
“Now is the chance for visitors to make their mark.”
Donations from visitors will also go towards the continued restoration and maintenance of Tredegar House.
For more information on the project, visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tredegar-house or search the twitter hashtag, #signaslate.