This week it was announced that our Boarding Houses, The Dairy House and The Barns, have won the Boarding Schools’ Association award for ‘Best Boarding House Extension or Refurbishment’.

The annual Boarding Schools’ Association Awards are a chance to celebrate the achievements, hard work, and dedication of schools and individuals in boarding.

Our award entry focused on the challenges of renovating these Grade II listed buildings, that sit within a conservation area, whilst simultaneously providing a unique, functional space for the students to study, live, and play.

As a Grade II listed building, renovations to The Dairy House involved retaining and restoring original architectural features such as The Creamery (where cream was originally made and now a social space), decorative ceiling architrave, original tiling and antique fireplaces.

Planning regulations dictated, the buildings which became ‘The Barns’ had to blend with the existing structures and look as if still used for their original purpose, yet still provide outstanding accommodation. To achieve this, materials such as lime plaster, clay tiles and red bricks were used and, as not many double-glazed sash windows were seen in cattle sheds several centuries ago, ‘Crittall style’ windows were cleverly set back into the building’s walls so they cannot be seen.

Creating an extra floor inside the building was forbidden. However, the high ceilings could accommodate platform sleeping areas with ensuites underneath, which made use of every inch of the available space.

The judges said: ‘An incredible transformation which has breathed life into old buildings. The décor and the modern furniture complement the buildings’ original quirky features and makes use of all available space. Of particular note are the platform sleeping areas. This boarding house would not look out of place in Architectural Digest!’

Mark Howe, our Head, said of this fantastic achievement “We were proud to be shortlisted as Finalists, but to win the award truly recognises how much hard work has been put into creating an extraordinary accommodation and experience for our boarding pupils.”