Heritage London & South East

Preserving the heritage at Grove Farm

A £1.4 million project to create a new heritage centre in Cookham, Berkshire is currently underway.

The Grove Farm Heritage Centre project is being implemented by John Lewis and comprises the construction and refurbishment of three buildings at Grove Farm, to form a heritage centre.

The two new buildings on the site – the archive centre and the pattern-view building will house a large collection of memorabilia and a variety of carpets and fabrics. Meanwhile an existing derelict pottery building – which made items for John Lewis during World War II – will be refurbished in order to house a permanent pottery collection.

Once work is complete on the site it is hoped that the pottery building will also provide the perfect space for craft workshops and activities.

Work on the new heritage centre is currently scheduled to reach completion in early 2013, ahead of two important dates for John Lewis – the 100th anniversary of the John Lewis Partnership and the 150th anniversary of the first John Lewis store in London.

Conamar Ltd is the main contractor on the project, whilst Catherine Bailie of FSP Architects is responsible for all architectural services on the site.

Work began on the project in June 2012 and is being implemented to modernise the facilities whilst at the same time ensure that new builds blend in with the existing structures.

Aspects of the project include the installation of new cladding, new windows and new lighting and the implementation of a new flood defence system.

Bespoke furniture designer, Furniture By Martin is responsible for some of the architectural joinery works on the Grove Farm Heritage Centre project as well as the installation of internal furniture, including bespoke reception desks, staircases and internal oak shutters. The company is also responsible for installing the external cladding on the site, which incorporates a very distinctive paisley design pattern.

Furniture By Martin Managing Director, Martin Haswell, said:

“This project is very important for us and is very much in keeping with the type of work that we conduct on a regular basis. It is great to be involved with a brand like John Lewis and this project allows us to cover a broad spectrum of works on one site.”

On the Grove Farm Heritage Centre project architectural stonework specialists E A Building Services (Oxford) Ltd is responsible for the brick and block work on the archive centre, in addition to completing some repair work to existing walls.

E A Building Services (Oxford) Ltd Managing Director, Marc Adams, commented:

“We specialise in renovation work and often complete works on a similar projects. The Grove Farm Heritage Centre project is a high profile site and is exactly the type of project that we excel in.”

Whilst work takes place at Grove Farm, main contractor Conamar Ltd is making all efforts to ensure that local residents are informed of the ongoing works.

Conamar Ltd Site Manger, Tony Litchfield, said:

“Conamar Ltd is part of the national Considerate Contractors Scheme, so we are liaising with local residents to keep them informed of the projects progress, we are keeping noise pollution to a minimum and are mindful of dust pollution.

“We are also being careful to retain as many of the site’s existing features as possible.

“Conamar Ltd completes work on a variety of projects, from one-off new build projects, to refurbishments and shop-fitting schemes for many leading retailers. We have worked with John Lewis on projects for over 20 years so they are a very important client for us.

“In terms of our work for John Lewis, this project is something completely new for us. Within the three buildings there’s an existing building, a concrete frame structure and a timbre building, so there is pretty much every aspect of construction taking place on this development.

“Grove Farm Heritage Centre is a very enjoyable project to be involved with.”

The Grove Farm Heritage Centre project is currently on programme and is scheduled to reach completion in February 2013.

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