Skip to content

Knebworth Damaged by “Climate Change”

March 11, 2021

By Paul Homewood


Yet more climate nonsense propagated by the BBC:



Damage to a Grade II* listed stately home caused by climate change is to be repaired after a grant was awarded.

The £74,175 funding from Historic England will pay for restoration work at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire.

It is thought the north-west turret has been damaged by higher rainfall and temperatures, said the heritage group.

The Knebworth House Education and Preservation Trust said the money would "enable us to continue visitor access… and retain employment".

The repairs to the turret will tackle cracks which are affecting the original 19th Century structure and exterior decoration to the 15th Century Tudor building.

A survey of the house will be carried out to determine the cause of the structural cracks and help develop a long-term repair plan.

It is believed the cracks have been caused by climate change, with increased rainfall combined with periods of higher temperatures, said Historic England.



Knebworth is in Hertfordshire, near to the long running weather station at Rothamsted. So, what does the data tell us?


As far as rainfall is concerned, Hertfordshire is not getting wetter, either annually or seasonally. And certainly there have been no unusually high rainfall totals in the last few years leading up to these “cracks”:





And neither is extreme rain getting more frequent or severe:




As for “higher temperatures”, the very idea is absurd. I’ve never heard of castles falling to bit in France, for instance, where it is much hotter. Indeed, it is frost damage which causes most of these sort of problems, because of the way ice expands and contracts.

But just for the record, the supposed “periods of higher temperatures” are a figment of somebody’s imagination. Nor is there any “climate change signal” in any of the trends:





In fact, far from Knebworth suddenly falling down because of climate change, the building has been in a poor state of repair for many years, as Knebworth themselves admit:



And despite much work put in since 1984, things are still desperate:


A Knebworth heritage site is undergoing emergency structural repairs to preserve the building for future generations.

Councillor Terry Tyler visited Knebworth House to view the ongoing repairs at the Hertfordshire stately home.

As chairman of North Herts District Council, Cllr Tyler is an ex-officio trustee of the Knebworth House Education and Preservation Trust (KHEPT), a charity whose sole purpose is to preserve and maintain Knebworth House and Gardens for the benefit of the public.

In 2012, Knebworth House was designated by English Heritage as a ‘priority building at risk’.

Costs to complete the essential repairs are currently estimated at £11 million.

That figure, if it can be raised, will secure the building, but the charitable trust will then need an endowment beyond this to continue the preservation of this precious local asset into the future.

Cllr Terry Tyler said: “I was so impressed at the activities of the trust and am appalled to learn that KHEPT needs £11m in urgent repairs.

“As chairman of NHDC and ex-officio KHEPT Trustee I will help the trust as much as I can.”

This was Cllr Tyler’s first visit as a trustee. He was shown around Knebworth House by the person who knows it best, custodian Henry Lytton Cobbold.

Alongside pointing out the work the charity has successfully completed over its 36-year history, Henry revealed the areas that are in need of urgent repair, including a large section of the southern roof where water is entering and causing interior damage.

The 500-year-old building requires constant monitoring for water ingress.


No doubt, Knebworth thought they had a better chance of getting a grant from Historic England if they blamed it on global warming. But the problems there are a consequence of decades of poor maintenance, not the climate bogeyman.

  1. March 11, 2021 12:05 pm

    I need to check my house insurance policy, I don’t think that Climate Change damage is one of the risks that I am covered for.

  2. subseaeng permalink
    March 11, 2021 12:16 pm

    This was also one of the main stories in the Telegraph today. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Whatever next?

    • Hewan Ormson permalink
      March 11, 2021 12:34 pm

      But at least the Telegraph stated that repairs had previously been carried out in the 1990’s indicating a longer term problem. It also mentioned that “A set of foundations which combines Tudor and Victorian engineering is also thought to be at fault”. Of course, the headline only blamed climate change.

  3. Patsy Lacey permalink
    March 11, 2021 12:23 pm

    |Buried deep in the DT article is the admission that the foundations created by centuries of engineering from Tudor to Victorian could also be responsible

  4. March 11, 2021 12:40 pm

    O/T SkyNewsAust have recently put out a vid by a guy who was the equivalent of a UKIP MP
    Renewable energy ‘creates more pollutants than fossil fuel‘: Cory Bernardi
    To me that is a bit hyperbolic : solar/wind do end up in landfill
    but I think they leech contaminants into the ground
    and claiming more pollution than coal/gas is hyperbole
    No power biz in the UK is creating dead bodies.

    However such hyperbole is waved through all the time on the alarmist side of the argument

  5. March 11, 2021 1:10 pm

    I think the BBC article is a local one written by an intern
    It first attributes “Climate Change” as the cause in the title
    then in the body says
    “A survey of the house will be carried out to determine the cause
    of the structural cracks and help develop a long-term repair plan.”

    £74K grant awarded
    (plus another £180K from the Historic Houses Foundation, govt Heritage Stimulus Fund
    ..why’s the article put that separately ?)

    Describes the problem “cracks affecting 19th Century structure/decoration to the 15th Century Tudor building”
    .. so we are talking about old structures.
    Do they have mega proof that it isn’t just wear and tear over the 150 years ?
    “It is *believed* the cracks have been caused by climate change, with increased rainfall combined with periods of higher temperatures, said Historic England.”
    “A survey of the house will be carried out to determine the cause of the structural cracks and help develop a long-term repair plan.”

    So #1 belief is not science
    #2 They admit uncertainty by saying they need to do “A survey … to determine the cause ”

    I wonder if all the rock concerts & TV drama filming work done over the years has caused any damage ?

  6. Lez permalink
    March 11, 2021 1:33 pm

    Slightly O/T.
    I recently watched an interesting programme on railway architecture on the Yesterday channel.
    Featured was the Causey Arch in Co Durham.
    It was built in 1725 and survives intact to this day. Despite climate change.

    • Julian Flood permalink
      March 11, 2021 1:41 pm

      Causey should be more widely know. It’s the place that the UK after a thousand years reached a higher level of engineering than the Romans.


    • Phoenix44 permalink
      March 12, 2021 9:31 am

      As does the Tower of London built by William I. And St Paul’s built after 1666. As does the Coliseum in Rome. Etc etc.

  7. It doesn't add up... permalink
    March 11, 2021 1:44 pm

    Meanwhile Charity Commission whitewash:

  8. bobn permalink
    March 11, 2021 1:57 pm

    The problem with Knebworth is that its ancient.
    The Lytton-Cobbold family that own it have not renewed or repaired it and now try and maintain it via a Trust (they have only leased it to the Trust!). Basically they want others (taxpayer) to repair their house for them. Solution is to give ownership to the National Trust who can raise the funds to repair it, or otherwise sell it to a multi-millionaire who can afford to repair it.
    Of course lifting some of the absurd Grade I and II rules would allow a business to buy it and convert to a Hotel. That would secure its future but stupid Grade I rules condemn buildings to rot away.

    • JohnM permalink
      March 11, 2021 4:24 pm

      Here in France we have a bizarre situation. Is a listed building has to be repaired one must use certified builders, who are very expensive. If one uses an unapproved builder the owner will be fined (heavily).
      However if the owner just let the building fall down, no fine is given.

    • March 11, 2021 9:48 pm

      @bobn said “Solution is to give ownership to the National Trust”
      Crazy the moment the NT is controlled by mad woke greens.
      Just as if it’s been hijacked
      It might have been a deliberate Alinsky style entryism exercise
      or the existing people getting brainwashed.

      I believe NT woke policy is contrary to what the large chunk of members want.
      And it’s not just about the majority
      If someone gave money to preserve an old building in 2001
      it is not right that my donation is used in 2021 for woke-activism, even if 51% of current members voted that way.
      It should not be legal for charities to change their focus and spending from what they were set up for.

  9. Harry Passfield permalink
    March 11, 2021 2:09 pm

    If I were the Insurance Assessor I would be asking the knobsworths at Knebworth to PROVE their claim. No proof, no payout.

  10. Ben Vorlich permalink
    March 11, 2021 2:37 pm

    Pink Floyd ‘Live At Knebworth 1990’ To Be Released April 30, 2021

  11. Phil O'Sophical permalink
    March 11, 2021 2:42 pm

    I have no relevant knowledge so this is just a thought: could the slight rise in temperature shown on the last Rothamsted graph be due to its proximity to the ever busier M1, or even the ever busier (now expanding) Luton airport a little to its north, as local heat islands?

    • tom0mason permalink
      March 12, 2021 8:08 pm

      Or just as probably the changes to instrumentation.
      From the old mercury or spirit thermometers to the electronic devices of today. Mercury/spirit filled have higher thermal mass than their electronic replacements, so their thermal inertia slows their reaction time, thus compared to modern devices they may miss rapid temperature variations. These devices were often only sampled once a day for the max/min temperatures.
      The modern electronic thermometer devices have far less thermal mass and so less thermal inertia and are continuously sampled at second to second rates.

  12. Jackington permalink
    March 11, 2021 3:07 pm

    They were lucky, just look what climate change has done to Kenilworth castle.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      March 11, 2021 4:09 pm

      I drove past it today, strangely is has grown massively with a lot of new buildings appearing since 1952 when it was just a few stones…….. isn’t climate change amazing!

  13. Mad Mike permalink
    March 11, 2021 3:39 pm

    Its just getting silly now. The trouble brewing for these people is that if the claims you make get this silly their whole argument gets tarnished and people start to questions even the strong arguments..

    Its bit like a ploy in negotiations. If the other side has a strong argument, which you would find it difficult to break down, you ask them if they have any other arguments to back up their case. Inexperienced negotiators will invariably try to find other arguments, in the mistaken belief that more is better, which will mostly be weaker and you turn your attention to attacking these, trying to keep the talks away from the strong arguments.. The weakness of the latter arguments will be exposed and that will help to take down their entire case.

    Give a man enough rope etc.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      March 11, 2021 4:31 pm

      Spot on, MM. Negotiate one point at a time – then write down what was agreed after each one – and get it signed.

  14. Thomas Carr permalink
    March 11, 2021 3:57 pm

    I guess that Cllr. Tyler is conflicted but you can understand the case made by the owners and the willingness of the grant funders to join in . The publicity and self congratulation should not be denied by first finding out what Rothamsted has to show.

  15. March 11, 2021 4:03 pm

    HA HA! Tell’em anything to get free MONEY!! The ‘W
    oke’ saps will run with such utter NONSENSE!

  16. Up2snuff permalink
    March 11, 2021 4:35 pm

    I know Edwardian houses and Victorian churches that have had to have their mortar repointed and the occasional cracked brick replaced. What elderly building doesn’t require maintenenace over time?

    And what about ‘acid rain’ and its effects? Remember the fuss over that in the 1970s?

  17. David permalink
    March 11, 2021 9:19 pm

    Knebworth House, though charming, is basically designed to encourage saturation in wet weather and thus frost damage at times. It will always need constant repair to the complex stone turrets. I knew the man who spent many years in the nineties repairing most of the turrets. Hardly any buildings whether old or new have this sort of design with so much complex and exposed stonework.

  18. Gamecock permalink
    March 11, 2021 10:38 pm

    Getting the middle class to pay for repairs to rich people’s places.

  19. tom0mason permalink
    March 12, 2021 8:58 pm

    The usual emotive blather from the National Trust and the usual push to extract more money from the gullible.
    The National Trust (and Royals such as Prince Charles) is an organization for whom their main desire appears to be the public keep and maintain all the ‘great and good’ properties for them, while reverting as much of Britain as possible to a giant historical theme park for tourists. The NT actively attempts to maintain the idea of a rigid class system in the UK.
    Declaring any build as this ‘grade’ or that immediately gets my suspicions running, exactly for who’s benefit is this done?
    “For the nation.” is the spurious cry from NT. but there is no person called ‘the nation’, and the public was not questioned about the NT’s plans. No they just pompously assume the right to preserve vast tracks of land and buildings regardless of the needs of the greater population, needs for housing and land to building on, or the requirements of employment and industry.
    The NT’s vision is for a Britain set in an aspic of fake historical ‘niceness’ where staged performance happen in large buildings that once were owned by mostly the wicked but the well connected types of the past*. Where men and boys doff their caps while women and girls curtsy. Or staged ‘battles’ are performed with dubious historical accuracy for the never ending stream of rich tourists.


    Edward Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton, GCB, GCSI, GCIE, PC (8 November 1831 – 24 November 1891) was an English statesman, Conservative politician, and poet (who used the pseudonym Owen Meredith). He served as Viceroy of India between 1876 and 1880—during his tenure Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India—and as British Ambassador to France from 1887 to 1891.
    His tenure as Viceroy was controversial for its ruthlessness in both domestic and foreign affairs: especially for his handling of the Great Famine of 1876–78, and the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Lytton’s policies were alleged to be informed by his Social Darwinism.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: