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Architect Needed for £6m Overhaul of William Morris Home

The Society of Antiquaries of London is seeking an architect to complete a £6 million revamp of the Grade I-listed Kelmscott Manor.

The winner of the contract, which is valued at £425,000, will restore the 16th-century West Oxfordshire manor house and surrounding estate, which was the residence of writer and designer William Morris from 1871 until 1896.

Scheduled for a 2021 completion, the project will restore the limestone mansion along with its Grade II-listed barns, granary, and stables. There will also be a new and modern kitchen, studio, toilets, workshop, shop, cafe, and plant room.

Gill Andrews, president of the Society of Antiquaries of London, said that their vision for the completed project is that visitors to Kelmscott Manor will be able to see and appreciate the inspiration that the house provided to William Morris, whose legacy continues to the present day.

It is believed that Kelmscott Manor was a major influence in Morris’ conservation philosophy. He featured the country house in the preface to his novel News from Nowhere. It was also included in the background of Water Willow, a painting that Dante Gabriel Rossetti created of Morris’ wife Jane. Rossetti and the writer co-rented Kelmscott.

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The magnificent home, which overlooks the Thames, was built in 1570 by local farmer Thomas Turner. Morris used it as a country retreat, and after he died Jane Morris purchased it in 1913 and continued to live there.

The estate is also a museum open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the summer months and has remained largely the same since Morris died. It includes many of his textile patterns and furniture pieces.

Last summer the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) provided a £4.7m grant to the Society of Antiquaries of London, which has owned the site since 1962, for the development stage of the project. The second round of funding is anticipated for December 2017, after an application is submitted.

The deadline for architect applications is January 24 at 5:00 p.m. The winner will provide architectural contract administration, and lead design services for the Kelmscott Manor project. Structural, electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering may also be needed.

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