New guidance for heritage properties published

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As a new series of the hugely popular Bridgerton prepares to land on Netflix, specialist insurer Ecclesiastical has published guidance for heritage properties considering offering their premises to production companies.

GLOUCESTER, United Kingdom, May 10, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ecclesiastical Insurance, based in Gloucester, has launched a new filming in heritage properties guide to help property managers consider the risks of allowing film crews through their doors.

From Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy emerging drenched from a lake at Lyme Park House, Cheshire in Pride and Prejudice to Matthew Crawley proposing to Lady Mary outside a snow-covered Highclere Castle, Hampshire in Downton Abbey, heritage properties have played a vital role in some of TV and cinema’s most celebrated moments.

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Many of these iconic locations have subsequently become tourist spots as fans of the shows visit them to recreate famous scenes or follow in the footsteps of their favourite characters.

While that has been gratefully received by many locations still recovering from the impact of the pandemic on their visitor numbers and turnover, others have seen a negative impact as a result of their participation.

Amazon smash hit Saltburn, which featured iconic scenes starring Barry Keoghan dancing to ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ through the fictitious mansion, is one of the most high-profile examples in recent years of a property owner rueing their decision to allow filming to take place.

The owner of Drayton House in Lowick, Northamptonshire, which was used as the fictitious Saltburn mansion in the production, recently complained of visitors to the property trespassing in the grounds.

Another example of the impact of film crews filming at heritage properties includes damage to the fabric of the building, including floors, walls and panelling. These most commonly occur during the setup and takedown of filming sets, when equipment is leant against walls, or large equipment impacts with it.

In one incident at Highclere Castle, a turquoise chest belonging to the Countess of Carnarvon was knocked onto the floor and broken, needing repair at Sotheby’s. The staff at the stately home now move any furniture and paintings to avoid further incidents taking place.

In a recent interview ahead of the launch of the new series of Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington AKA Lady Whistledown, confessed to breaking a piece of furniture during a scene with co-star Luke Newton.

Ecclesiastical proudly insures many of the UK’s most iconic heritage properties, including Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and Blenheim Palace. To help better prepare heritage property owners for the potential risks and pitfalls of allowing filming to take place, the specialist insurer has launched a new guide.

Laura Carter, customer segment director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As a leading insurer of heritage properties, there is always a bit of excitement when we see a new series featuring a much-loved historic building or venue.

“Shows such as Bridgerton and Downton Abbey have really showcased our country’s incredible heritage buildings on an international scale and that has to be something to celebrate. It brings with it potential financial reward, including an influx of visitors, and can really boost the profile of a stately home or visitor attraction.

“However, as we saw with the response to Saltburn, there can be pitfalls in letting your heritage property be used for filming, and that’s why we’ve launched this guidance. We aren’t telling property owners to say “no” to production crews, instead we’re giving them the advice they need to make the best decision and take the necessary steps needed to protect themselves.”

The guidance includes:

  • Contacting your insurance provider ahead of agreeing to filming to make sure that appropriate cover is in place
  • Ensuring contracts are in place to protect all parties which are tailored to the premises and cover any and all unique features
  • Collating detailed records of the building’s condition in the areas that may be used for filming
  • Being aware of any reputational impact that may come from hosting the filming – particularly if there are any controversial historic, political or societal impact issues
  • Putting in place all health and safety requirements to protect staff, crews and others on site during filming
  • Potentially removing any high-value or delicate items and placing them in secure temporary storage, using specialist removal service providers in the process

With many of the UK’s heritage properties having Listed status, there are additional considerations to take into account when agreeing to filming on site, including protecting the finishes of the property, particularly any listed features, as well as any fabric of the property that could be damaged, such as paintwork.

For more information on Ecclesiastical’s guide, visit ecclesiastical.com

The third and final series of Bridgerton broadcasts on Netflix, with part one launching on Thursday, 16th of May, and part two being released on Thursday, 13th of June.  

Contact:

Shôn Douglas
External Communications Manager
07384 820 840
[email protected]

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