Museum’s Westwood Room restoration wins OPT Building Conservation Award

The results were announced at a dinner in November, with the Biochemistry department’s Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Building also being recognised with a certificate in the New Buildings category and the refurbishment of the Sheldonian Theatre’s toilets receiving a letter of commendation for creating a more pleasant visitor experience and improving accessibility for disabled people.

Originally decorated in magnificent Pre-Raphaelite style, the Westwood room had declined into an inaccessible back-of-house area and was being used for storage, with much of its original splendour covered up in subsequent refurbishments.

Estates Services and museum staff worked closely with contractors to carry out a sensitive programme of restoration. The room now forms a well-used focal point for the museum’s outreach activities, hosting activities including workshops, educational visits and family-focused visitor activities. Visitors to the museum can see it for the first time in many years – it is on the first floor, near the beehive.

westwood room 01

The programme of work, worth around £200,000, involved conserving and reinstating the original Pre-Raphaelite painted freezes and vaulted roofing, as well as cleaning and conserving the insect-themed decorations around its stone fireplace, including elaborate depictions of the life-cycles of stag beetles and hawk moths.

The team also carried out joinery repairs, replaced and upgraded lighting fixtures, added new fire and emergency lighting and replaced heating pipework and radiators.


westwood room 04
westwood room 03
westwood room 02