‘Fault’ in roof sees part of West Wing at Ickworth House closed for safety reasons

The West Wing, Ickworth House.
The West Wing, Ickworth House.
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A ‘fault’ in the roof of the West Wing at Ickworth House, has seen part of the building close to weddings, conferences and other functions.

A spokeswoman for the National Trust, which owns the property, confirmed the news on Wednesday .

“We have noticed a fault with the roof in the West Wing at Ickworth,” she said.

“As a precautionary measure we have closed the restaurant and gallery functions suite in the West Wing whilst we investigate further.

“We are working closely with our catering partner Sodexo to make alternative arrangements for functions and visitor catering in the short term.

“In the meantime, the rest of the property remains open with full access to the house, park and gardens.

“Our principle aim is to ensure that our visitors and clients continue to have the best possible experience whilst they are here.”

She added that all functions booked would still take place.

“For weddings we are offering alternative locations on the Ickworth Estate,” said the spokeswoman.

“We have arranged for a wedding marquee to go up on the lawn with the Rotunda in the background, which will give a stunning backdrop for our guests.”

The West Wing was opened in December 2005 following a £5 million project.

It had been buit in 1841-46, years after the main Ickworth House was built – but for more than 160 years The West Wing had stood as an empty shell awaiting completion.

That all changed with a two and a half year project to complete the West Wing and bring it into use as a first class function and conference centre.

The work was carried out in partnership between the National Trust and Sodexo who now operate the catering and events that form the day to day running of the property.

And in May 2006, a month before it held its first wedding, it was named as one of the top 50 places in the World to get married.

The Independent newspaper ranked the West Wing alongside the likes of The Great Wall of China, The London Eye, Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas and sunset beaches in Antigua and Jamaica.

It said guests could enjoy 1,800 acres of gardens and wooded parkland as well as Champagne receptions overlooking the Italinate gardens, while there was seating for 220 people.

The sales manager at the time, Mary Myers, who retired in March, said after the award: “It is a credit to the stunning new building and magnificient grounds surrounding the West Wing, which will provide a pictureseque backdrop for any wedding.”

The main house was built on 1795 for the eccentric Frederick Harvey, the fourth earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry.

After the death of the 7th Marquess of Bristol, John Harvey in 1999, ownership of the building transferred to the National Trust.

The West Wing was built in 1841 but stood as an empty shell until December 2005.

In June 2006 it began to host its first weddings.