The menagerie was built in 1781 when the estate was owned by Marquess of Buckingham. It was most likely designed by Vincenzo Valdre and was built as Her Ladyships Menagerie. It was converted by the 1st Duke into a museum displaying a vast collection of geological specimens.

Since the school have taken over the site there have been various extensions to the rear of the menagerie, varying in date from late 1930’s to early 1980’s. The building is now used by Stowe School as the school shop and tuck shop.

The brief was to undertake a detailed inspection of all normally visible parts of the building viewed from ground level with access to the roof to record the current condition.

The report provided an overview of the general condition of the building and, where appropriate, its contents, furnishings and fittings and to indicate areas of immediate concern. Following Historic England guidance, the outside of the building was recorded first, and the sequence was from top to bottom, starting from the same point on the floor plan at each level, and working clockwise from room to room, and within each room or volume.

Over recent years the menagerie has had a number of small remedial repairs undertaken to keep the building in use, however it was clear that this was not a longer term solution as the building, particularly externally, was still deteriorating and in need of substantial repairs.

The roof is in need of repair, and this is impacting the condition of the rest of the building, in particular the south elevation. The large majority needs reroofing, and leadwork should be put back in place where this has previously been replaced with felt. The parapet wall to the south is failing and the lead flashing details are poor, which is leading to water ingress causing the decorative render and soffits to fail, and large areas of this have been lost or are badly water damaged. The copper dome needs temporary repairs to protect the internal decorative paintwork and ultimately needs replacing.

Project Details

  • Client: Stowe School

  • Designation: Grade II Listed Building

  • Status: Feasibility stage

  • Contract Value: £tbc

  • QS: Michael Edwards Consultants Limited

Sharon Pritchard