Castle Drogo standing tall on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon, the stonework seems so perfect that you suspect that it might have only been constructed a few years ago. However, of all the hundreds of castles ever built in Britain, this is one that has never had to endure an attack or a siege as it was only completed in 1930. Castle Drogo was the last castle to be built in England, and probably the last private house in the country to be built entirely of granite.
Castle Drogo, despite its youth, now faces a far more deadly enemy, “the weather”. Its vast roof is leaking, as well as its 900 windows and the pointing between the enormous slabs of granite are letting in water. The National Trust, has launched a campaign to raise the estimated £11 million needed to make the castle watertight. The work is expected to take around 5 years to complete.
In various areas some of the granite ashlars blocks had to be removed so that repairs could be made to make it water tight. The building is protected by a conservation order so none of the visual elements of the stonework can be altered or damaged. Failure to comply with this is classed as an offence!
As David Collier of William Anelay Ltd commented:- 'When asked to cut out large individual granite ashlars on Castle Drogo at the start of a £6M contract; we decided to carry out some trials. As the Castle is a Grade 1 listed building, we needed to take special care not to touch or mark the stone. The first job was to remove the pointing to a depth of 20mm with hand tools. This exposed the arises and the size of the joints.