Historic conservatory ‘reborn’ as contemporary business and social venue

Source: Leighton Hall 29 September 2022

Rising like a phoenix from decades of decay, after months of careful restoration work, the historic conservatory at Leighton Hall has been given a new lease of life as a contemporary, sustainable and flexible meeting space, business hub and events venue.

Like many historic buildings, the materials used in the stunning Victorian conservatory were feeling their age, and the building had fallen into a state of disuse, due to the significant investment and specialist restoration expertise required.

However, Leighton Hall, home to the historic Gillow furniture-making dynasty, had a vision to not only restore the historic building, but use the latest sustainable building materials and techniques to create a calm space which maximises the benefits of their inspiring countryside location.

Thanks to a successful grant application bid to the Heritage Stimulus Fund – grant for programme of major works, the conservatory has been carefully restored back to its original design, a confection of gleaming glass and delicate white tracery. Thanks to Crosby Granger Architects and DEC Construction, both based in Kendal, modern techniques such as insulation made from recycled glass pebbles ensure the building performs at the highest sustainable, environmentally sound and future-proofed standards possible.

Inside, top-spec design and fittings deliver a dynamic yet calm working and meeting environment and the many new facilities (including superfast wifi connections, audio-visual projection equipment, flexible tables and seating arrangements, cloakroom, disabled and kitchen facilities) create an attractive and adaptable work, meeting, and event space.

Perfect for those looking to hold a “meeting with a difference”, the space can be hired for award ceremonies, presentations, workshops, celebrations, conference and team-building events, and clearly much more. Leighton themselves have plans to use it for events including talks, charity nights, wedding ceremonies and a pop-up tearoom.

All guests benefit from Leighton’s other facilities, including catering, friendly and experienced staff, close, easy and ample parking, and complementary new studio classroom and meeting space.

The ‘wow factor’ comes courtesy of its stunning location. Set amidst the Gothic buildings, gardens, rolling woods and parkland it’s guaranteed to get the creative and celebratory juices flowing!

Estate Manager Lucy Arthurs, who still lives in the family home and manages the popular visitor attraction, says: ‘I remember my parents hosting plant fairs, exhibitions and events in the old conservatory, so it was terribly sad to see the state it had got into. In the current climate, restoring it has been a huge, and at times, a scary commitment, but the results have surpassed our hopes.

We are already getting enquiries from companies and groups looking to have that meeting or celebration somewhere more interesting and inspiring than a bland office, or city centre hotel. We never take our glorious surroundings here for granted and it’s wonderful to think our conservatory will once again bring pleasure to so many people, from our regular visitors and tours to a whole new audience.’

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