Help Restore Nell Gwynn's Bath
A unique historical artefact
What is Nell Gwynn's Bath?
Referred to as ‘Nell Gwynn’s Bath’ it is the only surviving Restoration-period buffet in its original location. Built into our Entrance Hall it is neither a bath, nor did it belong to Nell Gwynn! – the name is derived both from Lauderdale House’s most famous resident and from the marble features giving the artefact the appearance of a bath! With its intricate and delicate carving it is, in its own right, a unique and significant architectural feature of this Grade II* listed building which dates from 1582 and is a rare example of a domestic merchant’s house.
"As a rare survivor with Tudor origins the house is both of national importance and well loved by the local community." Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund of London
What it costs to restore
Our restoration project costs £48,000 and has been designed by conservation specialists Carvers and Gilders (members of Master Carvers Association, ICON and the Guild of Master Craftsmen) who have carried out a detailed assessment of what is required to return it to its former glory, preserving it for future generations.
We have already raised £31,000 towards it repair – can you help us reach our total and preserve this rare and beautiful piece for posterity.
What will happen next?
Once restored we will ensure free access to this genuinely unique and distinctive historical feature seen nowhere else in the United Kingdom and enable people to appreciate 17th century domestic woodcarving at its best. It will also allow social historians, students of architecture, tourists, schoolchildren and local residents a valuable window into our nation’s domestic history, becoming a stimulus for heritage education and experience.
An extra bonus is that the restoration and conservation process may well reveal other clues to the history of the buffet and Lauderdale House itself. The Carvers and Gilders report recommends its removal for conservation work in the workshop. They suggest that it was probably made originally for another house and adapted for Lauderdale House. Its removal may provide other clues to its story and also how Lauderdale House has evolved over the centuries, since the buffet was originally placed in a doorway between the dining room and kitchen.