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Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Tuesday, 24 August 2010 08:00 UK
Restoration of Princess Diana's family home
The Spencer family home at Althorp
The Spencer family aim to keep the house in shape for the next 500 years.

The family home where Princess Diana grew up at Althorp is under going a £10m restoration.

The major building project is expected to be finished ahead of schedule during spring 2011.

Generations of the Spencer family have lived at Althorp for the past 500 years and every summer they open their doors.

The popular stately home on the outskirts of Northampton has 19 of its rooms on display to the public and will remain open until the end of August.

Extensive work

Work has already started on part of the house.

The roof and brickwork are being replaced with the same materials the house is constructed from and to ensure the building stays watertight for another 500 years.

There is also an extensive refurbishment of the roof tiles which are designed like a "mathematical" grid.

It was originally a red brick Tudor building but its appearance changed in the 18th century when the famous architect Henry Holland made some modifications.

The house at Althorp being refurbished.
The house is still open to the public despite the refurbishments

Early mishaps

Three gardeners deal with 33 acres of land on the estate and one, David Williams, described his first week at work at Althorp when he accidentally set fire to the lawnmower.

Mishap also hit William Evans, a housekeeper, who accidentally smashed some of the most important and expensive antique pieces because he was "over zealous" and a tad nervous.

And the man in charge of the restoration, Jan Bialek, told of an occasion when one of his colleagues was carrying out roof repairs.

Some staff who happened to be passing by at the time decided to remove the ladder, believing it was an eye-sore and a hazard.

Yet they failed to realise he was kneeling and hidden out of view at the top of the house.




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