Roof repairs prompt Norfolk stately home to launch candlelit tours

Visitors to a Norfolk stately home are set to be taken back to pre-electricity days by viewing some of its rooms by candlelight.

Three rooms at Felbrigg Hall, near Cromer, will be temporarily plunged into darkness when their windows are boarded up during a �250,000 roof repair at the 17th century National Trust property.

A quarter of the roof towards the north-east corner of the house is due to be repaired as part of a six-month project throughout the winter months.

The work, by Norwich-based W S Lusher and Son, will see timbers inspected, lead work and chimneys repaired, insulation added and tiles replaced.

It is being done to prevent further leaks and deterioration that threaten the historic collection and fine interiors below.

Scaffolding, taking three weeks to put up, will completely cover one side of the house, while several windows will be boarded up for protection as part of the process, plunging three rooms on the visitor route into darkness.

House manager Ella Ingle said staff would not be handing out torches to visitors.

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She said: 'In a way it's a blessing. We're going to use this opportunity to show off the house in a completely different way. For the first time visitors will be able to see what these rooms would have looked like by candlelight.

'It's quite a transformation. The atmosphere completely changes and the rooms take on this romantic glow. You get a real sense of what it must have been like to have lived here long before electricity was introduced. The dining room in particular, where the light bounces off the mirrors, chandeliers, glass and silverware, creates this entirely new experience for visitors.'

The roof space where the work will take place has had to be cleared, meaning new storage space had to be found for items from the Felbrigg collection that are not currently on display.

The majority of the roof work will take place over the winter months, with limited disruption to visitors. To see some of the rooms by candlelight, visit during October, Saturday to Wednesday, from 11am to 5pm.

The candles used are artificial, but life-like. A trust spokesman said 'We're unable to use real candles for safety reasons; also we have to consider the conservation element of items in our care.'