Restoring Jacobean-style panelling in our Summer House

15 February 2023

Regeneration work continues on the Grade I-listed Jacobean summer house found on the northwest corner of the Charlton House estate. Built shortly after the main house for the Newton family to relax and entertain guests in the warmer summer months, the building’s plan may have been the work of Inigo Jones.

When we last checked in on the summer house in early spring 2022, contractor Sean O’Shea had removed a thick layer of cement from the walls, revealing once more the inside of the beautiful red brick and lime mortar. The cement had been applied in the 1930s, when the council converted the summer house into what were surely some of the most beautifully-housed public toilets in Britain.

In the past few weeks, DEB Heritage Joinery’s David Bull has been hard at work installing sample wood panelling, a project that will eventually restore the interior of the summer house to how it would have looked in the 17th century.

David’s work follows designs by architect Charlie McKeith from Research Design. Charlie’s drawn inspiration from panelling in rooms contemporary to the Summer House, including Charlton House’s own Long Gallery.

This work, which will rejuvenate the summer house and aims to remove it from the Heritage at Risk Register, would not be possible with the generous support of Historic England.