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Bristol practice to refurbish William Morris’s Kelmscott Manor

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Bristol-based historical renovation specialist Architecton is to create an education centre at Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire, the former home of the celebrated 19th century designer, writer and campaigning socialist William Morris

The practice will also carry out refurbishment and conservation works on Grade I-listed buildings as part of the project at Morris’s rural retreat in the Cotswolds.

The estate’s owner, the Society of Antiquaries of London, secured a £4.3 million grant for the works from the Heritage Lottery Fund earlier this month and has topped its budget up to £5 million through donations. Planning consent and listed building approval was granted this summer.

Architecton’s scheme will see a 90m² education centre built on the south side of the farmyard, along with repairs to elements including the house itself, a stable barn that houses a café, and a granary building that serves as a shop.

Construction is due to start in 2019 and complete by May 2021, when the manor celebrates the 150th anniversary of the arrival of its most famous inhabitant.

Built in 1570 by local farmer Thomas Turner, Kelmscott Manor is best known as Morris’ country home. He lived there from 1871 until his death in 1896, drawing inspiration from the house’s architecture and garden. It was there that he founded the Kelmscott Press, dedicated to the production of limited-edition, hand-crafted illustrated books.

Kelmscott Manor from the sky

Kelmscott Manor from the sky

Source: Society of Antiquaries

Kelmscott Manor from the sky

Estate agency Carter Jonas’s planning and development team helped unlock the planned project. Carter Jonas partner Nicky Brock said: ‘It is a privilege to work on an architectural treasure with such a strong design heritage.

’Planning permission means that important refurbishment works can be undertaken to conserve the collection of Grade I-listed buildings that make up the estate, while looking to the future with the addition of the new education centre.

’This will ensure that visitors can not only enjoy the house and its grounds, but learn more about the legacy of Kelmscott Manor and its most famous resident.’

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