Monday, 21 February 2011

Berkeley Castle closes for re-wiring

As usual, in November, Berkeley Castle will close its doors to visitors for the Winter, but this year is different, as rather than planning winter weddings and Christmas events, the Castle will only be open for one weekend between November 2010 and April 2011.

This is because the Castle is undergoing some works to replace the 1920’s plumbing and electrical systems. The services installation project team started work in the private apartments of the Castle, where Mr & Mrs Berkeley reside, in June and are now reaching completion of these areas.
After the Castle closes to the public at the end of October, the contractors will be moving into the public rooms.
General Manager, Vicky Parr said:

“This winter will be a complete upheaval at the Castle. We are unable to hold our usual events due to the extent of the works being undertaken, and the main office is moving temporarily out of the Castle during the works to the gift shop building.

We do have three events in the Castle during one weekend in December, including the English String Orchestra’s Christmas concert on 12th December, when everything will be back to normal. Apart from that we won’t have any events here until April 2011.”
The existing plumbing and electrical installation were instigated by the 8th Earl in the 1920’s and much of the original cabling and pipework still remains, unfortunately it is no longer compliant with current legislation.
Work to the private apartments has being taking place whilst the public rooms have been open during the Summer, which has been interesting for visitors as they have seen contractors moving about the Castle.
Castle Director, Charles Berkeley said:

“The extent of the project has been enormous, and the team have faced many challenges. Pipe routes have been difficult to identify as they have been buried in concrete, and contemporary legislation has meant that some major changes have been made to how the electrics and plumbing systems now work, compared to the systems installed in the 1920’s. However, wherever possible we have tried to retain the original fittings including the radiators and light fittings. Most originate from the 1920’s and are therefore, when compared to the age of the Castle, relatively modern!”
The public side of the Castle will be completed in time for the start of next season in April 2011, however most of the work will probably go unnoticed by visitors. The one new addition will be the creation of new Ladies and Gentleman’s toilet facilities within the Castle for special events. These facilities have been long awaited, and it is hoped that it will encourage even more couples to choose Berkeley castle as their wedding venue.
Events Manager, David Bowd-Exworth said:

“Having cloakrooms next to the function rooms will make a huge difference to our guests, not to mention a modern heating system. Couples love the fact that we can light the fires in the Great Hall and the Long Drawing Room, but it’s not always possible to keep them lit throughout the event, and that’s where the central heating system has always been very useful, although quite unusual in a building of this age. The additional electric sockets will also make life a lot easier for the caterers and visiting bands, who have sometimes struggled with limited access to a power supply!”
For more information about the Castle and when it re-opens in 2011, contact the Castle office on 01453 810332, e-mail or visit

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