A grand entrance hall once shut off by Queen Victoria has been restored and reopened after hundreds of years to allow visitors a more spectacular entrance into Windsor Castle.
The castle’s Inner Hall was created by George IV in the 1820s as a space to receive official guests and with its restoration, it now “serves its original purpose as a magnificent welcome area for visitors to the castle.”
“Queen Victoria made use of the Inner Hall for almost 30 years, but in 1866 she instructed her architect Anthony Salvin to close it off and build a new, smaller State Entrance hall running east to west,” said the Royal Collection Trust. “For many years, the Inner Hall was used as a storeroom, and in 1965 part of it was made into a temporary display space.”
The opening of the Inner Hall, which is located in an area of the castle that dates back to the 14th century, “reinstates the sequence of spaces linking the visitor entrance on the North Terrace with the State Entrance on the south side and the uninterrupted view across the ground floor of the Castle.”
The State Entrance hall is another new addition to the visitor route and now for the first time, visitors can see the State Entrance, where guests of The Queen are welcomed to the castle. Also, one can now enjoy a spectacular view of the Long Walk from this entrance.
The Royal Collection Trust shared some details of the restoration process of the Inner Hall, during which “layers of paint were removed to reveal the intricate design of the ceiling bosses. These are the work of Francis Bernasconi, the most fashionable stuccoist of the Regency period, who worked at Windsor during the reigns of both George III and George IV.”
A new display of architectural fragments also is available for visitors to view at the castle. These pieces of stone were found by architect Jeffry Wyatville during his renovations at Windsor Castle in the 1820s and are “believed to be remnants of the buildings constructed around 1110 by Henry I, who established the Castle as a royal residence.”
The opening of the Inner Hall is part of the Royal Collection Trust’s Future Programme, a series of projects created to enhance the visitor experience at Windsor Castle.