Basildon Park is a Grade I listed house in the ownership of the National Trust. It was built by John Carr of York for Sir Francis Sykes in 1766. Nicholas Pevsner in The Buildings of England refers to it as “the most splendid Georgian mansion in Berkshire”.
Decline in the Sykes family fortunes resulted in a mixed pattern of tenants and then new owners. The house fell empty in the early 20th century except when it was used as a convalescent home by the army during the First World War. It was put up for sale in 1929 and was subsequently marketed for demolition. However, the house was nurtured back to life by Lord and Lady Iliffe who took on the property in 1952. It was given to the National Trust in 1978.
The house takes a Palladian form comprising a main central building linked to two flanking pavilions. It is built of Bath stone from Combe Down and was colour washed with copperas (iron sulphate). A number of the stones are now suffering noticeable decay. Nick Cox Architects have drawn up a schedule of stonework repairs for the whole house. The programme of work has been informed by a series of cleaning trials and a study of the lichen growth on the stone. The repairs are due to be carried out in 2009/2010.