WORK to restore the burnt-down Boathouse at Warwick Castle is underway.
Merlin Entertainment are investing £1million this year on heritage restoration works to the historic landmark which will include a full restoration of the Boathouse which was destroyed by a burning cannonball in 2015.
The boathouse sits on an island in the Avon and was not open to the public when sparks from the cannonball fired from the castle’s trebuchet ignited the thatched roof of the Victorian building.
The restored Boathouse will be used as a venue for celebrations, wedding receptions and corporate events. It is due to open in May ready for events in the summer.
Merlin, which holds the lease on the castle, has enlisted a team of Herefordshire-based craftsmen to ensure the new solid oak structure is as authentic as possible.
Merlin director Nick Blofeld said: “We are privileged to to be custodians of such an important historic landmark and place the maintenance and preservation of the castle at the heart of everything we do.
“The original Boathouse was part of the fabric of the castle and we are therefore delighted we can restore it in a way which remains true to its original form, whilst also providing a space that our visitors can enjoy.
“Our new over-water function room is being built by hand, using 150 pieces of timber and traditional mortise and tenon methods that would have been familiar to Victorian joiners.”
The Boathouse dates back to 1895 when the 5th Earl, Frances Greville, had it built to house an electric boat which he powered by batteries charged from the electricity generated by the castle’s mill.
The castle restoration works will also include stone masonry work on the towers, ramparts and main house.