Anne Boleyn Gates
Hampton Court Palace
The Anne Boleyn Gates were probably removed by Henry VIII to accommodate new stairs up to the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace. We were commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces to reinstate the existing gates – not merely replicating the originals in the Great Gatehouse also incorporating a pair of smaller wicket gates.
It was a particularly interesting challenge to reconcile Tudor architecture with modern building requirements. To allow access by people with disabilities we had to design new gates without a threshold piece - a large length of timber that traditionally would have been stepped over. We also had to accommodate modern day requirements for security and emergency access. Furthermore, historically important vaulting above and cobbling below the gates demanded extremely careful consideration.
The new gates use English oak - a material that is faithful to the original and will accommodate shrinkage and movement over time. Elegant linen fold panels were carved by a dedicated team of craftspeople, who also created a beautiful pair of panels above the new wicket gates. We designed unique wrought iron fixtures and fittings based upon widely researched historical examples, and adapted to meet contemporary security and operational requirements.
The new gates look superb and have been well received, winning the Small Projects category at the 2012 Wood Awards. Over time they will weather naturally, eventually resembling the original gates which demonstrate the effects of almost 500 years of weathering. In the meantime they demonstrate the ongoing tradition of craftsmanship, conservation and innovation at Hampton Court.