Restoration: The Master’s House, Ledbury

The Master's House, Ledbury internal paving in main hall

Forest Pennant internal flooring and external feature paving have been used for the award-winning restoration of the Master’s House, Ledbury in Herefordshire.

The restoration of the Grade II listed, timber frame medieval building was made possible by a grant of £1.25m from Heritage Lottery Fund.  Project architect, Butler Hegarty Architects was supported by a group of local volunteers, the ‘Friends of the Master’s House’ and the client, Herefordshire Council.

“It was recognised that the building was one of very few left in Europe and needed to be not only protected from demolition but restored and used as a multi-purpose building,” said Rachel Lambert, Joined Up Heritage and Mick Ligema, Cultural Services Manager Herefordshire Council.

Specified by Butler Hegarty Architects, the Forest of Dean Pennant sandstone was chosen as the most appropriate material to complement the internal features and façade of the revived medieval building.  The Forest Pennant flooring was laid in the central hall and entrance by project contractor, Walsh Construction Ltd, Worcester, with external paving in the courtyard and entrance landings.  The Pennant sandstone from Barnhill Quarry also forms the base of several interpretation features including the artist’s impression of St Katherine’s Hospital Grange Farm, of which the Master’s House is part.

“There was very little wastage during construction and the product was well finished,” said Ben Holmes, contract manager, Walsh Construction Ltd.  “We were impressed with the slip resistance even in wet conditions, which isn’t always a feature of natural stone.”

Commenting on the working relationship with Forest of Dean Stone Firms, Ben continued: “We believe that quality, customer service and reliability are essential in choosing a supplier.  Forest of Dean Stone Firms provided it all and more besides; fantastic customer service, bespoke items made to measure, tailor-made drawings and a fast turnaround.  Furthermore, the Forest Pennant products proved value for money.  We would definitely recommend Forest of Dean Stone Firms to our clients.”

“Aesthetically I think the stone looks lovely indoors and there is a pleasing symmetry between outside and inside.  The floor is easy to sweep through and even though it is stone, it seems warm and certainly appropriate for the building.  There are often comments about the main hall feeling grand, full of character, history and scale and I’m sure part of this positive response is due to the solidity and grandeur of the flooring,” continued Rachel.

Now a library, archive and community services hub, the Master’s House received over 100,000 visitors in its first year, with a 140% increase in library memberships.

Award-winning Restoration

The restoration of the Master’s House has been widely celebrated:

RIBA Awards West Midlands Region 2016
Building of the Year
Conservation Project of the Year
Regional Award

Civic Trust Awards 2016
National Winner

Civic Voice Awards 2016
Winner Restoration category

RICS Awards 2016
West Midlands Conservation Award

LABC Building Excellence Awards 2016
West of England Best Public Service Building

Wood Awards 2015
Highly Commended

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