The JESSOP Consultancy

Lichfield + Sheffield + Oxford
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Kelmarsh Hall,

Daventry, Northamptonshire

Grade I Listed Building (NHLE: 1067012)

Historic Building Recording prior to Restoration and Refurbishment

OASIS: thejesso1-178 651

Two projects were undertaken at Kelmarsh Hall to provide a detailed understanding of the development of the basement of the main block and stable courtyard to inform proposals for repair and new interpretation. The building is an important example of a compact Palladian style country residence built c.1728-32 to a design by the architect James Gibbs.

A detailed fabric survey was undertaken of a suite of rooms that functioned as a Laundry and the Stable Yard. The existing layout was a piecemeal development of over four phases between c.1800-1930, interpreted as being associated with changes in ownership and the differing needs of each new household.

The principal use of the Stable Yard was for horses and it is estimated that the by the 1880s, there were stalls for between 25-30 horses. There was a smithy for a blacksmith, loose boxes, garages for at least four carriages, coaches, or gigs, and an integrated dwelling at the southeast corner of the Stable Yard.

As part of the improvements to the Main Block in 1870 was the need for an up-to-date Laundry and one was built into the northwest corner of the Stable Yard.  It comprised of three rooms, The Wet Laundry, Dry Laundry and Office/Fuel Room, all connected to the basement of the Main Block via a subterranean passage and that nearly all of the large fixtures and fittings still survive. It can be regarded as a significant example of a purpose built Laundry from the mid 1860s-70s.

Within the basement of the main house at least six principal phases of change have been identified. The survey has demonstrated that the existing layout of the basements has been created by the gradual sub-division of larger spaces, presumably associated with the changing needs of the household over time, and in response to the introduction of new technology and services. There is a good level of preservation of architectural features in the Butler’s Pantry, including slate sinks, worktops, and built in cupboards.

Scope of work: archive research, measured survey, architectural photography