The Shell Grotto, St Giles House (2014)

28 April 2015
Polychrome & decorative surfaces
Project value:
More than £100k
Project length:
10 months

The Shell Grotto, St Giles House (2014)

The Shell Grotto was shortlisted for Historic England's Angel Awards in the category:

"The Best Craftsmanship by an Individual or Group of Trainees, Apprentices, Experienced Craftspeople or a Company on a Heritage Rescue"


The restoration of the 18th century Shell Grotto at St Giles House was a technical and aesthetic challenge due to the ruinous state of the structure and the extremely fragile state of the existing shell, flint and mineral decoration.  The contract comprised: stabilising the lath and plaster from above before a complex carpentry programme reinstated the roof structure before re-roofing the rebuilding; consolidation of the walls; the consolidation and replacement of the shell, flint and mineral decoration; carpentry and ground works.

The Grotto before the conservation programme.

The Shell Grotto, Angel Awards

Detail of the ruinous state of the roof and walls.

Overview of the complex carpentry to the roof structure.

The roof reinstated and the walls consolidated and repointed.

Timber roof structure being installed over a curved chamber

Timber structure in progress over a curved chamber.

Conservation work in progress in the inner chamber to consolidate and reinstate the shell decoration and decorative branches.


The inner chamber at the final stages of the conservation programme to the shell decoration.