WORK to restore Forty Hall will begin in less than a year, it was announced yesterday.

The Jacobean mansion, which according to English Heritage is one of the best examples of its kind in the country, will have its first and second floors opened to the public for the first time in recent memory.

Experts say the early 17th Century interior remains largely intact.

Enfield Council won its heritage lottery bid for the Grade I listed mansion in 2008, and has also pledged £2.8m in funding towards the project. Forty Hall is also in the running for a £1.3m lottery grant to restore the Grade II listed park, and a decision on that bid is expected to be made within two years.

Under the plans, Enfield Museum will be relocated from Forty Hall to the Dugdale Centre, in London Road, the staircase will be reinstated to its original position, the building’s early 17th Century interior will be restored to its original design, new areas for learning and participation will be created, and a programme of excavation works will be carried out on the former Elsyng Palace, which once stood in the grounds.

The entire building will be closed for renovation from January to November next year.

The Grade I listed house on Forty Hill was built in 1629 for Sir Nicholas Rainton, Lord Mayor of London in 1632, who was locked in the Tower of London for five days by Charles I for refusing to reveal a list of people able to loan money to the King.

Deputy council leader Michael Lavender said the design work is now going to begin.

He said: “Visitors will be able to walk through the building in the way that the original architects intended. The beautiful Jacobean staircase will also complement this pattern, plus the new lift will allow access to the first and second floors for the first time.

“We also intend to create a vibrant new visitor development programme and exciting events calendar which will see people flock from all over London to the Hall.

“Elsyng Palace will also be further investigated. This royal palace still has much of its secrets yet to be discovered. This lottery money will allow us to begin an ambitious programme of excavation and discovery. It is an exciting time in the history of Forty Hall”