Canford Manor House


Canford School




11 Months


About the Project

Established in 1923, Canford School  located in Wimborne, Dorset, is a prestigious independent co-educational boarding school renowned for its rich history and stunning architectural heritage. The main school building, known as the Manor, is a Grade I listed structure designed by the renowned architect Sir Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament in London.

This case study focuses on the recent refurbishment project completed at Canford School’s Manor building, which involved the restoration and upgrade of the following areas.

Study Rooms – A total of 31 study rooms were refurbished to create modern and conducive learning environments for the students.

Kitchens – Four kitchens were upgraded to meet modern standards and accommodate the culinary needs of the school’s students and staff.

WC’s – Twelve WC’s refurbished to provide improved sanitary facilities for the building’s occupants.

Common Rooms – Three common rooms were revamped to serve as spaces for relaxation and social interaction among the students.

Rooms for Hire – Three rooms within the Manor building completed refurbishment

Staff Offices – Two staff offices were refurbished to provide comfortable and functional workspaces for the administrative personnel.

Store Rooms – Three store rooms were renovated to enhance storage capabilities

Lift and Common Areas – A new lift was installed, along with improvements made to the common areas across the four floors, ensuring accessibility and ease of movement within the building.

Key Challenges and Solutions

The refurbishment project at Canford School’s Manor building presented several challenges, which were addressed through appropriate solutions:

Removal of Blown Plaster and Lath and Plaster – Significant deterioration of plaster and lath and plaster necessitated their removal and subsequent re-plastering, restoring the integrity and aesthetic appeal of the affected areas.

Upgrade of Rotten Floor Joists and Ceiling Rafters – Water ingress had caused damage to floor joists and ceiling rafters, requiring their upgrade and replacement to ensure structural stability and safety.

Reconfiguration of Rooms – Walls were demolished, and new walls were constructed according to the approved drawings to reconfigure the rooms, optimising space utilisation and accommodating the desired room layouts.

Window Installation – New windows were installed, improving energy efficiency, enhancing natural light penetration, and maintaining the architectural integrity of the Gothic Revival design.

Lift Shaft Construction – The old fire escape was repurposed to create a lift shaft, offering accessibility options and ensuring compliance with accessibility regulations.

Fire Safety Upgrades – Walls were upgraded to meet stringent fire safety requirements, enhancing the overall safety of the building and its occupants. Additionally, fire stopping measures were implemented around new pipe runs and floors.


Project Photos


The History

Situated amidst the idyllic landscapes of Wimborne, Dorset, the Canford School building stands as a testament to the region’s rich heritage and educational excellence. With a fascinating history spanning centuries, this remarkable structure has undergone remarkable transformations, housing distinguished residents and evolving into a prestigious educational institution. Join us on a journey through time as we unravel the captivating story of Canford School, from its construction to the changes it has witnessed over the years.

Canford School owes its existence to the vision and expertise of architect Sir Charles Barry, renowned for his work on iconic buildings such as the Houses of Parliament. Built in the mid-19th century, the Canford School building exemplifies the grandeur of the Gothic Revival architectural style. Its impressive façade, complete with towering turrets, intricate stonework, and imposing arches, commands attention and exudes timeless elegance.

The building has been home to several notable figures throughout its history. The original owner and resident of the estate was the prominent aristocrat and Member of Parliament, Henry Warburton. His ownership bestowed a sense of prestige upon the building, as it became a symbol of social prominence within the community.

In 1923, Canford School underwent a significant transformation when it was acquired by the philanthropist and educational reformer, Sir Henry Stedman Cotton. Recognising the building’s potential

as an ideal educational environment, Sir Henry founded Canford School with a commitment to providing exceptional education to young minds. Under his guidance, the building became the centerpiece of a thriving institution dedicated to intellectual growth and character development.

Over the years, Canford School has evolved to meet the changing needs of its students and the demands of modern education. While preserving the building’s architectural integrity, several expansions and adaptations have taken place. New wings, additional classrooms, libraries, and state-of-the-art facilities have been added to enhance the educational experience while ensuring that the building remains true to its historical roots.

Despite the transformations and expansions, Canford School has remained steadfast in its commitment to preserving the building’s rich history and its architecture. Careful restoration work has been undertaken to retain and showcase the original features, ensuring that future generations can appreciate the building’s grandeur and historical significance.

Today, Canford School stands as one of the UK’s leading co-educational independent boarding schools, providing a nurturing environment for students to excel academically, artistically, and athletically. The Canford School building serves as a living reminder of the institution’s prestigious past and continues to inspire generations of students to reach their full potential within its hallowed halls.


Mon – Fri: 8am – 5pm


19 Black Moor Road,
Ebblake Industrial Estate,
Verwood, Dorset, BH31 6AX
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Contact Us

24 hour 7 day a week emergency phone number 01202 829200


Allen Gilbert-Stroud BSc
(Hons) ACIOB Tech IOSH

Director / Quantity Surveyor

Lee Humphreys
Director / Senior Contracts Manager

Kimberley Brennen
Finance Manager