Restoring our Roof, Securing our Future

West Dean House, home to West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, is a Grade II listed building of cultural and historical significance, and is central to the delivery of our world-class education in conservation and the creative arts. It also houses the unique Edward James Collection and Archive that makes our remarkable story and inspires students from all over the world.

We have made a promise to invest in protecting our heritage and the priceless Collection within it. This starts with restoring the 126 year old roof of the House. Over the years the roof has become extremely worn due to time and weather, there are numerous leaks and failed masonry which urgently need repairing. Returning the roof to good condition is vital for the building to survive and ensure students can continue to study here for many years to come.

A History of West Dean House

West Dean manor was noted in the Domesday Book and two windows remain from the Jacobean manor House of 1603. The House you see today was mostly built from 1804-30. Later additions by Edward James' family, such as the enlarged entrance portico, followed from 1892. West Dean College opened in 1971 and now welcomes more than 5,000 students a year on 800 arts and conservation short courses, and 24 degree and diploma programmes.

What are we doing?

This project will repair the leaks and failed masonry at high level. The roof comprises 38 individual sections with work staged across two phases.

Phase 1: Starting at the west end of the house, moving towards the centre, phase 1 involves extensive roof works externally but also to walls and roof timbers.

Phase 2: Working from the centre to the east end of the historic house, stopping at the workshops.


It will cost £5.8 million to complete this enormous restoration project. Although we are using as much of our own resources as possible, we need your help to reach the total amount and save this precious building.

To make a donation towards the Roof project please text ROOF to 70085, or to donate online, please click on the button below.

Roof Progress Report

The recovering of the roofs over the Principal rooms of West Dean College is progressing well.

The scaffold structure for the first phase of the works was erected at the beginning of the year and the first roofs opened up for inspection by mid February. The scaffold for the phase 2 works is commencing and by the end of May the next set of scaffold roof trusses will have been craned into place.

Read the full report here.