Unveiling SGGS’s latest refurbishments
Despite the disruptions faced by the school over the past eighteen months, there have been many astounding accomplishments that have come to fruition. One of the school’s proudest achievements was the refurbishment of its beautiful Manor House and Stables.
As part of our ongoing blog series, we showcase the entire process, from beginning to end, and reveal plans for a brand new Sixth Form study space.
Revamping the Manor House
During the initial stages of renovation, the roof across both the Manor House and the Stables took priority as it was incredibly important to maintain the heritage through precise, accurate and highly skilled workmanship, making it very time-consuming. To mimic the existing tiles, that were used to repair the roof 120 years ago, seven different coloured rosemary clay plain tiles were scattered across the roof in a pyramid style, to give the impression that it was the original roof from 1660.
Repairs to the roof took several months but once the last tile was placed in June last year, the final touches could be made. The new cockerel weathervane was placed centre stage, which symbolised the completion of the entire roof renovation.
Interior work then began on the Manor’s rooms to repair and re-decorate where any damage from the roof renovation had occurred. In the historic Shakespeare room, where Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway were famously betrothed, the stunning stained-glass windows received an upgrade. The existing old blinds were removed, and the panels were cleaned to let the light reflect in and open the entire space up. This stunning room remains part of Stratford Girls’ Grammar long-standing history and preserving its heritage which includes its beams and the priceless window were, therefore, a crucial part of this process.
New look to the Stables
Shortly after the Manor House was completed, interior work on the adjoining Manor House Stable Block started. Planning permission for the former garage, which has been cited in this block as transport changed from horses to cars, was granted at the same time as the roof and the school received a DFC grant from the government for capital works shortly after the work was approved. However, this pot of money ran out during the roof renovation so to maintain momentum, the school topped up the pot to ensure the remaining work could be completed to a high standard and on schedule.
Within the walls of the Manor Stables, the aesthetic remains almost untouched, with exposed bricks now visible throughout the building, which we worked very hard to preserve in efforts to maintain the building’s heritage. Internal partition walls were removed, and improvements were also made with the introduction of stunning floor-to-ceiling windows, which will provide those within this space with a picturesque view of the Main Lawn.
Over the summer, work continued on the Stables, and we are currently halfway through the conversion; busy transforming the space into a large open room. There are many possible purposes for this space that are yet to be decided, but the opportunities are vast, such as a conference room for students to have one-on-one meetings or host group projects.
During this two-year project, there have been several hurdles that extended or halted the work that was currently in motion. This included working with heritage surveyors to ensure we were operating within the guidelines for historically listed buildings and the discovery of bats in the Manor’s loft. In this case, time was taken to allow professionals to remove the bats safely and ensure it was then safe for work on the roof to continue.
Although necessary renovations have taken place in the Manor House, many features remain unaffected including the grand 20th-century oak staircase, the priceless stained-glass windows that capture our history and the exterior balcony that is said to have inspired Shakespeare to write his famous Romeo and Juliet scene.
SGGS was delighted to hear directly from students on Results Day about how lovely the new Sixth Form space is, and we look forward to welcoming back our ambitious Year 12s and 13s in September to their newly renovated space in the Manor House.