Osborne House – Osborne Beach

Project to reopen Queen Victoria’s private beach at Osborne House to visitors for English Heritage included conservation of the Queen’s Alcove (right), relocation of Queen Victoria’s bathing machine (below right), refurbishment and extension to beach pavilion to provide a café, changing room and toilets, construction of timber boardwalks and fencing to protect the fragile vegetated shingle and deployment of buoys to protect bathers.

The Project also involved repairs and improvements to the mile long access road and substantial mechanical and electrical infrastructure provision with new water supply, drainage connection and pumps, data cabling and electrical supply with new substation.
Project value: £1m

Architecture Summary:
This conservation work on the queen’s alcove included repairs to the roof, replacement of missing cast iron dolphin feet to the bench and repairs and conservation of the tiled interior.

The new site for the bathing machine had to balance protection of the artefact in the hostile waterfront environment with it appearing ready to roll down the beach and into the water. The project included provision of purpose made marquee to protect the bathing machine during the winter.

The original beach pavilion was a simple, two room structure, consisting of two changing rooms, accessed from a veranda, and dated from the time when Osborne House was used as a convalescent home. The finishes were stripped back to the timber frame which was then extended to create toilets, changing rooms and a beach café. The project included the interior design of the café space.

Management of people on the beach and protection of the vegetated shingle was achieved through simple low rope fences and timber boardwalks which provided access to the beach in controlled locations.

The project has been a very successful addition to the visitor experience at Osborne House and received a Design Award from the Isle of Wight Society.

Osborne House Condition Survey

In March 2019, Carden and Godfrey were commissioned to undertake a condition survey of Osborne House as part of a project for the reordering of the museum and upgrading of visitor access routes.

Client: English Heritage

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