Delapré Abbey was founded in 1145, with the abbey, house and surrounding lands playing host to 900 years of English history. These include key moments such as the Abolition of the Monasteries and the capture of King Henry VI in 1460. Despite its long and fascinating past, the site had never been open to the public. HKD were responsible for the masterplan that facilitated the site’s transition to a public attraction.
Core features that shaped this work were the sites size and the absence of a physical collection. We therefore placed emphasis on helping visitors to engage with the site’s intangible heritage. To do so, our masterplan identified milestones in Delapré’s timeline and located them across the site encouraging visitors to explore and discover different parts of the story.
As the house and abbey are displayed mainly unrestored and the site is run as a commercial enterprise, hosting weddings and conferences, most of the interpretation can be removed to allow for adaptable use of the site.