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Town Wall Entrance to Northwood House

3 August, 2022

Northwood House Charitable Trust, an existing customer of Resapol, contacted our Southampton Branch for the recommendation of suitable products in order to renovate the Town Wall Entrance to Northwood House, situated in Cowes Isle of Wight, including the old, narrow and steep steps leading to the former Nun’s quarters. The structures were in need a fresh coating in order to protect them from the typical weather conditions and exposed elements, such as air, water and vapour.

Structures surrounding the area had also fallen victim to graffiti, which had unfortunately defaced several locations. Northwood Trust sought solutions that were easy to use, provided a professional finish, whilst providing long lasting protection.

The iconic Northwood House is set in the beautiful 23 acre Northwood Park, just a stone’s throw from the bustling waterfront and famous yacht clubs of Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Never designed to be a home, it has always been where the Island has come to celebrate for over 175 years, and the Estate has a rich and royal history of hosting events and celebrations of all kinds.

Purchased in 1793 by George Ward, a successful London merchant, the House was rebuilt in 1816 and then extensively decorated by his son George Henry Ward between 1838 and 1841. Many lavish parties were thrown by the Wards when the Island and Northwood House became a popular destination for the Royal family. Queen Victoria’s own children often came over from Osborne House along with the rich and famous from all over Great Britain to enjoy the high society soirées hosted at the House. The House has also been a school, a convent and a hospital through two World Wars.

After 80 years of council stewardship, today this grade II* listed Georgian manor house is solely looked after by Northwood House Charitable Trust. It continues to provide a stunning location for any event, no matter how large or small, and is available to hire for every special occasion or celebration imaginable. From the grand rotunda entrance, with its domed roof, to the spacious main Ballroom, Northwood House makes a great venue choice for everything from a lavish banquet for 150 seated guests, to an intimate gathering for just close friends and family.

For the past eight years the Charity has made it its goal to restore the House and estate to its former glory, and every penny raised by the many different events all goes back into making the House safe and secure for future generations. After consulting with Resapol Southampton’s technical sales advisors, Intercrete 4891 (formerly known as Flexcrete Monodex Smooth) and Sikagard®-850 Clear Anti-Graffiti were put forward and then subsequently chosen as the most suitable products. Northwood Trust previously utilised Intercrete 4891 from Resapol Southampton during the 2019 renovation of the main Northwood House project, in order to similarly protect it from exposure to the naturally salty sea air.

Part of the problem with this renovation project came from the fact that the House sits high above the Solent facing strong salt laden storms. The 1830s substrate, being mainly lime mortar, (along with over 170 years of patching) had recently began to show its age. Intercrete 4891 is a high performance water based, elastomeric, high build, decorative coating which provides protection against carbonation and water ingress, yet allows damp substrates to breathe. It is ultra-fast drying which enables two coat applications to take place on the same day and facilitates year round usage.

Intercrete 4891 also comes in a range of attractive colours and the pebble grey option was chosen for the steps, whilst the pastel white variant was selected for the Town Wall. These gradients blended in with the similar colours featured on the surrounding buildings and structures, providing a professional and aesthetically pleasing finish.

Northwood Charitable Trust have since applied the same system to the Nuns steps entrance to the park, built in 1841. This once housed the gate keeper and his family who controlled the underground tunnel through which most of the provisions for the House’s grand balls were delivered. This structure, being somewhat remote from main House, sadly also seems to attract graffiti, so the new Sikagard Anti-Graffiti system was also utilised on top of the Intercrete system. Sikagard®-850 is a one-part ready to use permanent anti-graffiti and anti-fly poster semi-matt coating. The product is supplied ready to use and requires no dilution, once applied to a substrate any subsequent graffiti applied can be removed easily and quickly using a simple cold-water pressure sprayer without damaging the protection or requiring a refresher coat.

Northwood Charitable Trust are extremely pleased with the results and the project has also since won an RIBA award.

The materials supplied have performed extremely well, far exceeding their initial expectations in terms of effectiveness and longevity. The Town Wall and Nun steps faced similar issues to the Northwood House project, stemming from the fact that they are also exposed to the same weather conditions. When time and budgets and permissions are in place Northwood Charitable Trust’s plan is to paint all of the House’s exterior facades, which has not been done since the 1890s. This will help stabilise the surface, and much more importantly, allow the House to be lit from the exterior and take its rightful place as one of the most iconic and beautiful Georgian buildings and venues on the Isle of Wight!