REG LITTLE looks at the big winners in this year’s Oxford Preservation Trust Awards, which honour architecture and conservation projects in the city

MAJOR university schemes have dominated the 2014 Oxford Preservation Trust Awards, which celebrate the best new buildings, conservation and community projects.

The £2m restoration project at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, which involved removing, cleaning and resealing 8,500 diamond-shaped glass panes in the roof, is among the winners.

For years buckets had to be placed under the leaking roof of the Victorian building, the first major Gothic style building since the Houses of Parliament built 20 years before.

It took 14 months to complete the work at the museum, which attracts 600,000 visitors a year.

Oxford Mail:

From left, Debbie Dance, Chris Mulhall and Lawrence Howlin of 1855 Oxford Ltd at the awards

The Queen’s College was presented with a plaque for the refurbishment of its library, while Christ Church made it a university hat-trick for repair work on the cathedral’s famous choir vault.

Oxford Mail:

The Queen's College Library

The stone-vaulted ceiling of the cathedral’s chancel sits over the 12th century wall arcades, and features octagonal ‘lanterns’ which appear to hang suspended in mid-air.

Outside Oxford, a restored Georgian building now occupied by the estate agents and awards sponsors Kemp & Kemp picked up a plaque.

Oxford Mail:

Wolvercote Lakes

The grade II-listed building in Ock Street has been restored to its former glory, while being made fit for purpose as a modern-day office building.

Two new buildings in Oxford to win plaques were the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium at Wolfson College in Linton Road, North Oxford, created by architects Berman Guedes Stretton, and Oxford Brookes’ University’s John Henry Brookes Building and Abercrombie extension.

Oxford Mail:

The John Henry Building at Oxford Brookes University

The £132m building opened at the university’s Headington campus in February, and has previously won the Royal Institute of British Architecture South Regional Award and its National Award.

Judges said: “This new building has done great things for Oxford Brookes University.

“It is has become a welcoming public area. Internally the architecture is amazingly impressive. Even the local people that opposed the new building now seem to be on-side, which says a lot for the success of the project.”

Oxford Mail:

Conservation and repair of the choir vault at Christ Church Cathedral

The third new building winner named at the awards, held on Tuesday at St John’s College, was the Radley College Clocktower Court development, providing classrooms, gallery space and a meeting place for students and visitors.

Glasses were also raised to the 1855 Wine Bar and Bistro created in the Oxford Castle Quarter, which received a plaque for a small project.

The awards are sponsored by Critchleys and Kemp & Kemp, with the awards judged by a panel of experts chaired by architectural historian Prof Malcolm Airs.

Oxford Mail:

1855 at Oxford Castle

Oxford Preservation Trust itself picked up the Environmental Project plaque, along with its partners BBOWT (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust) and Grantscape for bringing land back into public use at Wolvercote Lakes.

Oxford Mail:

From left, Chris Wilmshurst and Huw Mellor of sponsor Kemp & Kemp, Debbie Dance, and Anthony Harris of sponsor Critchleys

OPT director Debbie Dance said: The awards are OPT’s opportunity to recognise prominent local projects, large and small. They illustrate the vital role that positive design has across our community.”


Buildings Conservation section


  • 1-3 Ock Street, Abingdon
  • The Oxford University Museum of Natural History
  • The Queen’s College Library. Certificates
  • 11 Fyfield Road
  • The Examination Schools in High Street

Small Projects


  • Christ Church Cathedral’s Repair of choir vault
  • The 1855 Wine Bar and Bistro. Certificates
  • Work in Merton College Chapel
  • St Stephens House cloister windows; access at the Radcliffe Camera
  • Work at 5 Park Town
  • St Bernard’s Hall, St John’s College
  • Magdalen College Porters’ Lodge

New Building


  • Oxford Brookes’ John Henry Brookes Building and Abercrombie extension
  • The Leonard Wolfson Auditorium
  • Radley College’s Clocktower Court.


  • Blenheim Palace’s East Courtyard Visitor Centre
  • Siew-Sngiem Clock Tower and Sukum Navapan Gate, Harris Manchester College
  • The Nuffield Department of Medicine
  • The McCall MacBain Graduate Centre, Wadham College

Environmental Projects


  • Wolvercote Lakes project

Our top stories



  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.