The successful renovation and replacement of the original tiled floor at Sandon Hall required skills and manufacturing techniques long forgotten by conventional processes.
Sandon Hall is Lord Harrowby’s home in Staffordshire, it was originally built in 1848. In 1865 a classical Victorian conservatory was added, it was designed by the acclaimed Henry Stevens of Derby and included elaborate ironwork and a beautiful, decorative Minton tiled floor. The Hall is now used for corporate events and receptions and is in frequent use. After 140 years of wear and tear, the floor was in need of considerable attention and it was decided to pull up the original, restore any saved encaustic tiles and make a replica of the original entire floor. The house is listed and therefore approval from English Heritage had to be granted and all work approved.
The original Minton floor combined black and white geometrics with bespoke encaustic tiles and is considered to be a stunning example of its style. Michael Bosson the manager of Sandon Hall refers to it as being “quite beautiful” and was heavily involved in the project. Around 90% of the original floor was damaged when it was taken up. Lee Baron Consultants were employed to oversee the project, who in turn commissioned Craven Dunnill Jackfield to manufacture the replacement tiles and restore damaged tiles. Original Victorian tile-making techniques were used and all the colours were matched to the original floor.
A few facts and figures:
- The conservatory is 90 square metres of tiled floor.
- Around 20,000 tiles (51 mm x 51 mm) were made by Craven Dunnill Jackfield including 16,000 geometric white tiles, of which 5,000 were individually cut to size.
- Many of the encaustic tiles (decorated tiles) were saved fo2/6/11ed to be completely replaced. Each tile was individually handmade.
- The colours had to match the palette used in 1865. Craven Dunnill Jackfield has developed a library of historical colours from previous renovation projects and the colours could therefore be selected, in confidence, from its existing geometric palette.
- Restoration of a few saved tiles was required before they could be re-laid and this was carried out by Lesley Durbin at the Jackfield Conservation Studio.
The tiles were re-laid in June 2005 by highly skilled floor tilers. looking as it did in 1865 when first laid, the floor tiles make a stunning sight for visitors at Sandon Hall.