October 2009 Archives
BERNAYS Hall in Stanmore has officially opened 18 years after restoration began.
The long-awaited ceremony was carried out yesterday evening at the property in The Broadway that was designed by architect JT Barker and built in 1871. It was constructed by Leopold Bernays, rector of St John's Church, in memory of his son, Ernest, who died aged 22 on August 31 1870.
As it happens, the restoration works - including reusing existing roof slates, selecting locally produced bricks which perfectly match the originals and salvaging dado rails grilles and mouldings - finished exactly 139 years later to the day.
At the ceremony, trustee Rex Holmes told onlookers: "Over the past 18 years the Bernays management committee has worked hard to raise the funds to enable the restoration to be carried out.
"The trustees considered it most important that the impending refurbishment and restoration was in keeping with the original design.
"Our strategy was to employ traditional craftsmen and methods and to re-use original materials, only to replace if absolutely necessary with their equivalent. Our watchword was, therefore, conservation."
Mr Holmes said the building work finished both on time and on budget, and the result is an airy, more open, and more economically friendly, hall.
"I think you will agree that the overall effect is stunning and is a credit to all those involved," he said.
"The Bernays will now enter a new phase and will continue to be a valuable part of the Stanmore community."