Envirograf provides a National Trust historic building a smart solution

Envirograf provides a National Trust historic building a smart solution

The National Trust has received a significant boost to its plans to transform visits to Stowe Landscape Gardens in Buckinghamshire by summer 2011 with a £1.5 million award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The New Stowe project will offer a greatly enriched experience for visitors. With the recreation of the historic entry into the gardens and a vibrant new visitor centre, the site that was once a derelict farmhouse and coaching inn has now been transformed to its original former glory.

By restoring the visitor centre, people will now enjoy a greater understanding of what it would have been like to visit Stowe in its heyday. Stowe Landscape Gardens were created by some of the 18th century’s leading architects, sculptors and gardeners, including ‘Capability’ Brown, John Vanbrugh and William Kent. With spectacular views, beautiful lakes, wooded valleys and over 40 temples and monuments, Stowe has been recognised as Europe’s most influential landscape gardens.

The National Trust’s Regional Director Patrick Begg said, “The HLF were very impressed with our ambitious and imaginative plans and the extent to which we intend to involve local communities in the project. This funding will help us to deliver our commitments to the highest standard, not only in terms of the restoration work, but also how we bring the site to life in an exciting way and engage with a wide range of people in the area.”

This project includes the complete restoration of the Stowe Inn, which was originally commissioned by the Temple family in 1717, the new Inn was the original starting point for a visit to Stowe Landscape Gardens. One would take a gentle walk through Bell Gate to be greeted by a breathtaking view of Stowe House across Octagon Lake.

This is beautiful historic building was officially on the Heritage at Risk Register, needing urgent attention. The initial work has already begun but it will take months of skilled and careful craftsmanship to complete. Some of the immediate problems facing the project included re-roofing, new cobble paving and replacing the windows and exterior doors. One of the main challenges was ensuring the building meets the current fire regulations which included upgrading the original ceilings and floors to the appropriate fire rating. Because the buildings heritage status the ceilings and original beams had to remain intact creating a challenge to source a solution that would satisfy the building regulations whilst remaining sensitive to the original historical features.

Envirograf was approached due to its extensive experience in offering effective passive fire solutions in the heritage-building sector. The underfloor fire barrier has been used in many similar situations and was offered as the perfect solution for the Stowe Inn project. Offering up to 104 minutes protection the barrier is simply installed from above the ceiling. Floor boards are carefully lifted and the barrier is fixed between floor joists from above using fixing lugs and clout nails, if acoustic protection is needed a layer of acoustic fire rated sponge can be added. Brian James one of environments Technical Fire Consultants said “The project was a great success, its been very satisfying for Envirograf to have made another succesful contribution to a National Trust Heritage building, ensuring fire safety whilst maintaining the natural features of such a beautiful building”.

For more information please contact Envirograf: 01304 842555 or email