Restorations and Additions
The restoration of Euston Hall is one of the more complex jobs undertaken by Francis Johnson and Partners in recent years.
In its present form, Euston Hall comprises about half of the mansion which existed before the Second World War. At its core was a Tudor house, reconstructed in the “French manner” in 1666-1670 and again in strict Palladian style by Matthew Brettingham for the 2nd Duke of Grafton in 1750-56.
In 1902, fire gutted the south and west ranges but the north range survived. The house was re-constructed on the original lines (using fireproof construction) but with plain interiors.
In 1950-52, it was decided to demolish the Edwardian parts and retain only the historic Brettingham north wing and part of the west wing containing the big dining room (to house the C17th family portraits) with bedrooms over. In that form the house was lived in unchanged for two generations until the present Duke succeeded his grandfather in 2011. The fabric had been well maintained but the interior arrangements with cramped kitchen quarters, tired decorations and comparatively few (austere) bathrooms, were in need of upgrading to make it suitable for a new generation of family life, and to improve the practical working of the house.
The heating, hot water and electrical services have been renewed throughout. At the western end of the north range, a large family Kitchen has been created out of three cramped 1950’s spaces and it has been linked by a new “bridge” over the back door corridor to a new west facing Family Room, formed by raising the floor level in the former Billiards Room.
The Entrance Hall has been enlarged and made symmetrical by taking in an adjacent cloakroom. The C17th bolection moulded marble chimneypiece was relocated from an attic bedroom. The Drawing Room, formed from two C18th panelled rooms in the 1950’s, has had the panelling reinstated on the east wall and the crude structural opening between the two rooms clad with Ionic pilasters and a panelled soffit.
A Library has been formed in the former Duke’s Study with bookcases inspired by William Kent and a new chimneypiece copied from a Kent design at Wakefield Lodge, a former ducal property.
On the first floor, the picture gallery known as the Red Square has been greatly enhanced by fitting an oval laylight within the large rectangular Edwardian skylight and replacing the spindly balustrade to the well with robust newels and balusters copied from the adjacent C17th staircase. New bathrooms have been created for the principal bedrooms, adopting motifs from elsewhere in the hall in their design.
In the process of removing a wall between the Balcony Bedroom and a redundant corridor in the Edwardian West Wing, an enormous steel beam 4’0” deep was uncovered, which could not be removed. The disguise of this beam called for some design ingenuity, the result being a modified Serlian motif with twin columns and a fan infill to the solid tympanum.
As well as improving the practical working of the house, the aim has been to enhance its architectural character by judicious alterations and restorations, underpinned by a thorough understanding of its history.