New Light Through Old Windows

Over the next few months, we will be showcasing our Business Centres and letting you see a little of what goes on behind the scenes when we take on a new project with an interior design refurb in mind. Lots of before and after pics all mixed in with a little bit of history about the buildings and how they have changed their identities through the ages.

Let’s start with our most recent refurb.

Any one who lives in Bicester, will no doubt recognise this rather imposing building with its Gothic Arches and gables built from local stone with light-coloured Bath stone dressing. But do you know the history behind this wonderful place? As the new owners, who have sympathetically refurbished this fabulous piece of Bicester history, we have uncovered lots of surprising facts about St Edburg’s Hall and we are proud that we have become the next phase in its wonderful heritage…read on and you might be surprised too!

A little bit of history.

St Edburg’s Hall has stood on a piece of land on the London Road since the late c19th, opening its doors in December 1882 to reach out to the whole community. The brainchild of Rev. John Blackburne Kane (Vicar of Bicester 1881-1894), £1200 was raised to build the premises which remained by far the largest public building – capable of seating 400 people – in Bicester, for many years.

Comprising two rooms on the ground floor and a large assembly room above, it was immediately well used by the whole community, for all kinds of events including: concerts, dances, dinners, plays, meetings, lectures and exhibitions.

It was also used for practical purposes to help those in need, such as operating a soup kitchen in the hard winter of 1896.

Cookery lessons were given in 1917 showing how cheap, but nutritious meals, could be produced from the limited food available during wartime and in 1921 the Bicester Urban District Council considered making it into a town hall but this never happened.

Events continued and it was a particularly lively venue for dances during World War II. Thereafter, sadly, its popularity began to wane.

As its use decreased and expenses increased, the church began to consider its future and it was decided in 1953 that it should be sold. It was later converted into offices for private commercial use.

Fast forward to 2021 

…and that’s where we come in! We fell in love with the building, its features, natural light and its wonderful community inspired heritage. This was not only going to be our fourth interior design refurb, but also our 2020/2021 lockdown project!

Refurbishing the premises brought to life the most amazing Gothic features which, as with all of our refurbs, we were keen to work with and restore, keeping as much of the original charm of the building as possible. From the carved balustrades to the stone window frames, leaded lights to the fabulous spiral staircase, we incorporated these many hidden aspects into the design of the interior. We polished up the brass door signs, brought back the natural flooring and added depth of colour to the faded oak panelling. With a few sympathetic new additions to the space…a fantastic ‘wow factor’ floor to ceiling glass partition, which allows you to see the stunning round window above the mezzanine, new ‘period’ style radiators and natural materials throughout, we started to see and feel the difference.

Ta dah! The perfect team.

After a short, but extensive refurb, St Edburg’s Hall has now been converted into stunning refurbished offices with a range of different spaces – from small individual offices to larger open-plan areas.

It’s so important to get the right team behind you and we love working with people who share our passion for our projects. Big shout outs to Paul Dawson for running the refurb, Kim Swallowe for the usual exceptional design ideas and Neil Wild for working closely with us to source, market and run the building.

Our first clients move into the ground floor next week! They are thrilled with the promise of their new premises…and we’re thrilled that they are!

The first floor is still available if your business would like an amazing home. Please get in touch if you might be interested.

We’ve always believed Covid and lockdown were a pause not a stop – this is one building with loads of natural light at the end of the tunnel!

Special credit to Massimiliano Giorgeschi for the wonderful interior photography.

If you would like to find out more, please contact Andy at [email protected] or call 01869 690126