The Hollytrees Museum is a beautiful Grade I-listed Georgian townhouse and a much-loved local family museum in Colchester. The house was built in 1718 on the site of an Elizabethan house by a London builder, Thomas Blagden, for Elizabeth Cornelisen of Camberwell, London. It was used as a private residence until 1929, when it became a museum. The house is known as Hollytrees after two holly trees planted in the grounds by Charles Gray in 1729 and is now a free-to-visit museum serving the centre of Colchester and specialising in local history.
PRS Architects were appointed in the summer of 2022 to carry out a detailed investigation, prepare a scope of works and assist with Specialist Conservation Architectural services to support an application for MEND funding for the restoration of the museum to prevent further damage being caused to the building’s fabric or the need for CIMS to remove objects for safe storage, requiring temporary closure. The fabric of the museum has been in need of repair for a considerable period of time. The current condition is beginning to severely impact the overall visitor experience, causing a drop in demand as fewer areas or objects are made available for the public to see.
Following a more detailed whole building review that includes ways of instigating measures to reduce energy use PRS Architects have highlighted the roof replacement works as a first urgent step. The project works will be conducted with the support of and by using the most up-to-date Historic England guidance documents regarding ‘Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings – How to Improve Energy Efficiency’ and ‘Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings – Insulating Pitched Roofs at Ceiling Level’.