Stuart Barr
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10th Sep 2018

A heritage panel puzzle…complete with missing pieces.

Thorbury Hall, Berkshire, was purchased by its current owner, David, several years ago. Living in the U.S. with his wife and family, the couple commissioned StuartBarr CDR to carry out a multi-staged project back home. The piece by piece restoration of this stunning listed English manor house has reinstated Thorbury Hall to its former glory.

Walking through the huge front door and into the vast panelled hallway, is like walking into the set of Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Peter’s Friends’, complete with sweeping staircase, huge stone fireplace, a lofty ceiling and carved doorways.

David’s first impulse was to rip out the panelling as then, dirty and damaged, it made Thorbury Hall seem dark and oppressive. Fortunately, both its listed classification and David’s own second thoughts proved a sufficient deterrent and the restoration option won out. StuartBarr CDR site manager Paul Evans, along with a trusty core team, removed a large proportion of the 100m2 of heritage panelling, carefully restoring and refitting each section.


Raised and fielded panels, bolection mouldings and intricate carving around doorways and archways were painstakingly restored. Some sections were removed and relocated to allow for structural changes to the property. Where panelling was too damaged to restore, panels were taken to the BarrJoinery workshop, where the team handmade new matching sections, filling gaps to complete the puzzle.

“The team worked on and off at Thorbury Hall for nearly 4 years” says client David. “As funds became available we would start on each further stage of the project, the flexibility of working really helped with the financing. Site manager Paul inspired confidence – the whole team clearly cared about their work and got on with the job in hand.”


Now restored to its former glory Thorbury Hall is ready and waiting to be inhabited once more – its panelled walls to witness the story of David’s family and those of many generations to come.

Not the first intricate panelling by the Barr Group – for a peek at some other heritage panelling projects see the dining room at Jesus College, Oxford or if you get the chance visit the private dining room at the infamous Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons! Also, with some exciting contemporary panelling projects currently underway – watch this space for a whole new take on internal cladding.

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