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Belmont House

Belmont House
The most northerly classical country house in Britain, Belmont was built in 1775 overlooking the Bluemull Sound and the ferry southwards to Yell and Mainland Shetland. The house was in an advanced stage of dereliction when The Belmont Trust was established in 1996.

Belmont is Category A Listed and set in a designed landscape with walled gardens included in the Inventory of Historic Gardens in Scotland. The house is remarkably intact, retaining original detailing and paint colours. Few alterations were made during the 20th century. Belmont’s restrained perfection, notable anywhere, is set in a wild and unspoiled natural setting. Extensive documentation survives including the original inventory. The Belmont Trust’s aim was a faithful restoration.

The works at Belmont included the removal of late 19th century extensions, propping up internal structure, repairing structural timber, re-slating the roof, stonework repairs, removing old cement and re-pointing in lime. Lime rendering was applied, the windows and doors repaired and glazed with cylinder glass made especially to the hue of the original glazing. Historic Scotland and Shetland Islands Council have supported the project. The final phase of works included the conservation of the interior and all its fittings including pine panelling, lime plaster on timber lath, the Thomas Chipendale stair balusters, carved limewood fireplaces, box beds and a kitchen based on early 19th Century Shetland precedent.

Belmont House is seen by everyone arriving on Unst. The restoration has brought the building back to life and already it is becoming a measure of the island’s recovery as Unst fights back from the consequences of the closure of its largest employer, RAF Saxa Vord.

Belmont is now in use as a venue and let as self catering holiday accommodation by The National Trust for Scotland, bringing tourists to the island.

Shetland Amenity Trust, the main contractor, has carried out the work to the highest standard and the project has provided employment for local islanders and enabled the training of Shetland craftsmen in traditional techniques.
PROJECT: Belmont House
LOCATION: Unst, Shetland
CLIENT: The Belmont Trust
ARCHITECT: Groves Raines Architects
QUANTITY SURVEYOR: Michael Thomson Associates
Belmont House
Belmont House
Main Contractor:  Shetland Amenity Trust

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