Elizabeth Gaskell's House

Following fifty-two weeks of extensive restoration works, Elizabeth Gaskell's House is complete. The project displays a true reflection of Armitage Construction's dedication to delivering a high quality finish to our clients and this can be realised throughout the property.

As you enter each of the upper ground floor rooms you get a real sense of the property's subtle majesty. Each room has its own distinctive features whether they be the vast array of original, wood-grained bookcases in William Gaskell's Study, the original, extensively restored, white marble fire surround and fireplace in The Drawing Room, the restored 'Chubby Churchill' radiators and heritage wallpaper finishes within The Morning Room or the painstakingly cleaned lantern light cornice and timber lantern which are outstanding features in the property's Main Staircase.

Throughout the ground floor the existing lath and plaster ceilings have been dismantled and replaced with new using traditional methods. The existing ground floor cornices were secured with specialist reinforcement techniques to prevent any further deterioration as the ceilings were removed and sections of cornices which had deteriorated over time were highlighted for replacement. Following assessment, samples of the existing cornices were safely removed, templates recorded and moulds cast to replicate the findings. Following an extensive curing time, the new sections of cornice were lifted into position and securely fixed to the existing lime plaster walls and new lath and plaster ceilings.

All of the existing and new timberwork within William Gaskell's Study, The Dining Room and The Main Staircase and Lobby has been meticulously prepared and specialist paint finishes have been applied to achieve an authentic wood-grain finish. The process required up to seven coats of differing paint types applied with a combed finish to achieve a faultless mid-oak colouration. More elaborate feathering to door and shutter panels worked by hand create an overall finish which is difficult to distinguish from natural wood.

The basement too has seen some extensive renovations and the property can now boast a meeting / presentation space, a large tea room, kitchen and male and female WCs which include disabled access and baby change facilities. A new lift installation offers full DDA access to all 'front of house' floors and ensures that all areas of the property can be appreciated by all visitors. The installation of the lift required extensive alterations to the basement vaulted ceiling and servants hall within the upper ground floor however, even with such drastic changes to suit modern requirements the basement has not lost its original features and can boast a restored fire and fire surround, original York stone floors, traditionally lime washed walls and fully functioning bell wire installations which service all of the upper ground floor rooms and follow the original routes using existing, newly restored, pulleys and levers. Between the basement and the first floor an additional emergency egress staircase and stairwell was erected with new period handrails and balustrades and this area also hosts a garden store/activity room with isolated cleaning facilities.

In addition to the basement and upper ground floor, the first floor boasts six multi-use rooms which can be hired for meetings and events. They feature modern data installations as well as restored and new lime plaster walls and cornices which were previously covered and extensively damaged during an earlier refurbishment scheme to create student halls.

Externally the boundary walls have been rebuilt with traditional lime, Nosterfield and Leighton Buzzard sand mortar to match historic photographs of the property and the decorative perimeter fencing and gates have been designed and manufactured to maintain wrought iron fixing methods and cast iron detailing on the Swinton Grove and Plymouth Grove elevations. These features along with extensive hard and soft landscaping have created parking and garden areas which provide the perfect setting for the property and its users for many years to come.

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Elizabeth Gaskell's House - Virtual Tour

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Heritage & Restoration

Probably the greatest example of our traditional skills is exemplified in this sector of our work. Over 140 years of tradition and learning has gone into the product and finishes that we offer today.

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