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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2005, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK
Historic stables get 2.5m revamp
Gibside stables
Horse-drawn carts have returned to Gibside stables
A popular tourist attraction re-opens to the public on Thursday following a 2.5m facelift.

The 18th century stables at the Gibside estate in Gateshead have now been restored to their former glory after a renovation lasting 15 months.

The new look stables will feature horse-drawn carts and learning rooms for school parties.

As part of the same project, the ruins of the Orangery have been made safe, and the public can now access them.

Money for the work was provided by the National Trust, English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Character conserved

Tony Walton, property and project manager at Gibside said: "The restoration work at the stables will enable visitors to gain an understanding and insight into the history of a working 18th century stable, while providing a friendly and adaptable space for community and educational use.

"The guiding principle has been to reuse what was there, repair what we could and conserve the character using existing materials or historically correct materials."

The estate around Gibside Hall, developed by George Bowes in the 18th Century, was once one of the great landscape parks of the north.

It covers over 500 acres of landscape, river and forest walks and is currently visited by over 100,000 people each year.

The ruined Gibside Hall is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and the National Trust has begun a long-term programme to stabilise its structure as part of a wider conservation plan for the whole estate.




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