Anne Boleyn Gates
The Anne Boleyn Gates were originally commissioned by Henry VIII and are an imposing set of timber doors within the Great Gatehouse at Hampton Court Palace. We were commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces to design and procure a set of reinstated gates following the precedent of the Great Gatehouse originals but 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 hand, as were a beautiful pair of spandrels above the new wicket gates. The wrought iron fixtures and fittings were designed from scratch at 1:1 scale 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 existing Great Gatehouse 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.
2012 Wood Awards – Winner of the Small Project Category