Conservation projects

Restoring pieces of history at Royal Victoria Country Park

Conservation projects

As a site with such a rich history, Royal Victoria Country Park has undertaken a number of conservation projects to restore key elements of the Chapel building at the heart of the park and the surrounding landscape. Read on to find out more about these restoration works and what to look for when you pay a visit to our country park.

Royal Victoria Chapel

In 2015, the Heritage Lottery Fund granted £3.1m to Hampshire County Council for a restoration project aiming to conserve the Grade II listed Chapel at Royal Victoria Country park, improve access to the building and create an exhibition telling the story of the former hospital site.

The project, titled Royal Victoria: Uncovering the stories of Netley Military Hospital, also sought to connect visitors with the history of the site from the outside, improving landscaping around the building and providing additional interpretation.

Stained glass window in Royal Victoria Chapel

The restoration works

A huge range of improvements were made, including the meticulous cleaning and repair of the Chapel’s ornate stained-glass windows, restoration of brick and stonework, and the construction of an annex to the side of the building, connected by a glazed link.

Access was improved to the building, with the addition of a new lift, staircase and fire escape. This enabled the installation of further displays on the first floor balcony and the opportunity for more visitors to climb the Chapel tower.

Ceiling lights in Royal Victoria Chapel

Outside the building, there is now a walkway following the line of the original hospital corridor and a garden planted in the footprint of the hospital’s central block. Four interpretation points were installed to mark the corners of the main hospital building, offering insight on both the scale and history of the site.

Pathways in parkland

The Cedar Rooms

Between 2018 and 2019, funding was allocated to develop the catering and visitor facilities on offer at the country park. This project aimed to create a new café space in the underused function room and provide an attractive catering offer for park visitors to enjoy.

The space formerly known as the Empire Room has been transformed into a café with a counter that utilises the original 1940s servery. The raised stage area houses a pizza oven and visitors can spot a hand-painted panel near the entrance displaying a world map that highlights the origin of the many different woods used throughout the building.

Pizza oven with pizzas

To the left hand end of the building, a space formerly used as a quiet room for reading and letter writing (or as a ‘green room’ for performers) has been refurbished as a new visitor information centre and gift shop. This ‘Hall of a Hundred Timbers’ has had its decorative dado restored and varnished, featuring a hundred different planks of wood, graduating from dark in each corner to light in the centre of each wall.

Visit our Food and Drink page

Pizza oven