Elected Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill, has toured Little Cassiobury this week as a comprehensive survey of the Grade II* heritage-listed building has been finalised.
Savills completed an extensive survey of the building’s condition and a Conservation Management Plan, funded by a Historic England grant and some match funding from Watford Borough Council. This will be used to inform a possible restoration and repair project designed to bring Little Cassiobury back into use.
The compact red brick mansion house was built in the late C17th as an addition to the Cassiobury Estate. It remained under the ownership of the Essex family until the Cassiobury Estate was sold in 1922 following the death of the 7th Earl of Essex. After it changed hands a number of times, Hertfordshire County Council purchased Little Cassiobury in 1938 and still owns it today.
Watford Borough Council is working in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council and alongside interested community members, to undertake some of the investigation work necessary to allow proper consideration of options for its repair and restoration and to feed into proposals for the future sustainable use of the building.
Mayor Thornhill said: “Little Cassiobury is an iconic part of Watford’s history and heritage and we want to see it preserved and brought back to active use.
“We only have three Grade II*buildings in Watford, including Little Cassiobury, so they are very important to us.
“The survey is the first step in understanding the work that will be required for Little Cassiobury. It also gives us much more understanding of its history. The building has undergone significant physical change over the years and peeling back the layers has been quite exciting.
“With the completion of the survey work, we can now start planning how best to preserve Little Cassiobury for future use.”
Watford has Heritage Lottery Funding for a number of important projects aimed at conserving and enhancing the town’s heritage. In 2013, Watford Borough Council was successful in gaining Heritage Lottery Funding to repair and restore several listed tombstones in St Mary’s churchyard.
Watford Museum was recently awarded a development grant of £175,800 to enable project plans for a large-scale refurbishment to progress before an application for the full grant of £1,741,100 is submitted at a later date.
A £6.6m major restoration of Cassiobury Park is also currently in progress.
Little Cassiobury, Frogmore House and The Mrs Elizabeth Fuller Free School are the three Grade II* listed buildings in Watford. Two of these are currently on the ‘At Risk’ register and the council has been very proactive in working with landowners to bring them back into use.