Cobham Dairy in Kent stands within the grounds of Cobham Hall, a grand Elizabethan house which dates back to 1208. When the Cobham estate passed to the 4th Earl of Darnley he commissioned the sought-after architect James Wyatt to design an ornamental Dairy, possibly influenced by his marriage to Elizabeth Brownlow in 1791.
Model dairies were among the most exquisite of estate buildings, fitted out as elegant pavilions with tiled or marble walls, plentiful water, a copper warming pan and charming porcelain vessels, sadly all lost at Cobham, but intact at the other, even smaller dairy in Landmark's care, at Endsleigh.
Photo courtesy of the Yale Centre for British Art
Saving Cobham Dairy
When we first saw the Dairy in the 1990s, it was a sad brick outbuilding, boarded up and surrounded by overgrown trees. Empty for decades, essential holding repairs had been carried out in the 1980s by a working party from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. They had re-roofed the building and stripped the slate cladding, carefully putting the slates into storage.
In 2014, contact with Landmark was renewed and we were able to consider our approach to the restoration of this beautiful building. Following generous support for the fundraising appeal from our fantastic supporters, we were able to begin the rescue and sensitive restoration of Cobham Dairy.
Throughout the works, traditional techniques were used for the most sympathetic restoration possible.
We were lucky to have James Wyatt’s original 1790s’ drawings at Yale to work from, and also his contemporary work inside Cobham Hall just across the lawns.
Learn more about the restoration
Stay at Cobham Dairy
After nearly two years of exacting restoration works, the Dairy has been totally transformed and is now once again a gleaming eye-catcher, looking for all the world like a little Italianate chapel. Book your stay and enjoy the peace of the delightful building.
Explore Cobham Dairy
Supporters of Cobham Dairy
We are grateful for the support of heritage insurance specialists, Ecclesiastical, as lead funders of this project. Ecclesiastical matched the first £200,000 raised from other supporters, securing the first £400,000 of funding for the Dairy. Ecclesiastical also insure Landmark and its buildings. We are hugely grateful for their generosity.
“Ecclesiastical is a special kind of business, giving back to the communities with whom we do our business. As heritage specialists in the insurance world, I am delighted we are partnering the Landmark Trust in saving this important building for the nation and at the same time supporting the specialist craftsmen and women who will benefit from applying their skills in a high-quality restoration project. Ecclesiastical believes in building long-term relationships with its customers, working together for the greater good and making a difference to everyone’s quality of life”.
Mark Hews, Group CEO, Ecclesiastical Insurance
Guardians of Cobham Dairy:
Dr and Mrs J Bull, Cobham Hall Heritage Trust, Mr S Conrad, Dr C Guettler, Mr J and Mrs J MacIntyre, and Mr and Mrs M Seale.
Patrons and other generous individuals:
Mrs C Alderson, Mr A Baker, Mr M Caporn, Mrs C Couchman, Ms S Darling, Mr H Eddis, Mr C Giffin, Mrs R Harvey, Mr D Haunton, Mr D Holberton, Mr S and Mrs R Jordan, Mr R Joye, Mr and Mrs R Lockyer, Dr and Mrs C Lott, Mr S Martin, Mr G Neame, Mr M Power, Mr B J Preston, Dr R Schofield, Mr B Sealey, Mr J Sharman, Mrs P Spens, and Mr A Wilson.
Charitable Trusts and Statutory Grants:
The Aall Foundation, Bunbury Charitable Trust, The Leslie Mary Carter Charitable Trust, The Country Houses Foundation, The Eversley Trust, The Greys Charitable Trust, The H B Allen Charitable Trust, The Charles Michael Holloway Charitable Trust, William & Edith Oldham Charitable Trust, The Leche Trust, The Oakdale Trust, The Pilgrim Trust, The Sainer Charity, and the Helen Robertson Charitable Trust.
Gifts in wills:
Mrs S Preston, Mr J Senior, and Mrs P Smith.
£1,500 has been donated to the Cobham Dairy appeal thanks to our previous tie-up with Waitrose. Donations from sales on a bespoke case of wine and commission from grocery deliveries generated a healthy contribution towards saving this special building. Sincere thanks to Waitrose and our customers.
We are also grateful to the generous Guardians, Patrons and other supporters who have chosen to remain anonymous and to everybody else who has already supported the appeal.