Significant investment in Lillibrooke Manor, a stunning 15th century events venue near Maidenhead, has been ongoing since its purchase by Charlotte and David Alberto in 2015. The latest projects recently completed have been the building of two ‘extensions’ to the Great Barn – a large production kitchen and new toilet facilities.
12 months in planning and 8 months for the build was not without its challenges. The main contractor, Revo Leisure Services based in Windsor, worked closely with the Lillibrooke Manor team to avoid disruption to events or the aesthetic presentation of the venue, crucial to its exclusive wedding hire and corporate clients. This was no mean feat, giving that mains gas was brought in and a large power upgrade to the nearest sub-station through to and around the venue.
The previous ‘rustic’ toilets have been replaced with beautiful modern facilities, in keeping with their surroundings. Feedback has been fantastic from wedding couples and in particular mothers of the bride and groom! Corporate uses and venue bookers now express appreciation of the well-designed access for wheelchair users and spacious baby changing facilities. This improvement also has seen an immediate and marked increase in bookings.
The kitchen wing was the most problematic, half being ‘new build’ and half being built into an existing barn, creating a mezzanine level for future office space and staff facilities. On first dig, it became apparent that the massive oak barn posts were in various states of decay under the ground, requiring a totally different structural engineering solution. Similarly, the siting of condensers and a large gas AHU for the kitchen ventilation system needed creative design to avoid being on show to guests, and they are now tucked out of sight in a gulley on the single storey of the kitchen roof.
The additions are impeccably blended; the external design reflecting the graceful wooden arches in Lillibrooke’s cloister garden, and retaining ancient brick and black feather boarding inside, married with a full length glazed view across to the Manor House. Materials were carefully specified to match existing buildings, including handmade roof tiles to match those of the Great Barn. The outcome has been a wonderful enhancement to the grandeur and functionality of the venue.
Previously working from cramped kitchens while still managing to deliver the fabulous food Lillibrooke is known for, the Heritage Venues chefs now have all of the space they need to enhance their dishes to even higher certificate levels. With defined preparation and sending areas, capacity has also increased significantly and the waiting team finally have somewhere to take their well-earned breaks in the warm and private staff room!
The development of the kitchen also means that the planned growth of Heritage Venues beyond Lillibrooke is now under way. Uniquely, Heritage Venues’ ethos is to offer management of other venues from sales and marketing all the way through to event delivery and catering, rather than simply ‘contract catering.’ Their vision is to build a legacy for Lillibrooke Manor, and others, to continue as enduring and treasured places. Heritage Venues’ highly experienced team are aligned with property owners, motivated to contribute significantly to their upkeep and preservation, while at the same time providing their users with the most beautiful, inspirational and memorable environments. They understand that people find it hard to fall in love with a white-walled conference room, but spending special time in such unique surroundings is a great thrill – be it a barn or a castle!
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