The refurbishment of the historic Grade II* listed Abington Hall has begun, with TWI working alongside Carter Jonas on the project.

Abington Hall is located in 120 acres of land at Granta Park, a purpose-built science, technology and biopharmaceutical park located in the heart of the Cambridge Science Cluster.

A building steeped in history, it housed the forerunner to The Welding Institute, The British Welding Research Association, when it purchased the Hall and grounds in 1946 for £3,850 after it had been used by the British military between 1939 and 1946, though was sold off due to the cost of upkeep.

The original staff of 40 included those working in the first welding shop on the site, situated in the stables next to the Hall, as well as on fatigue research in a former army hut.

The original 40 staff increased to 125 by 1958 before, in 1968, BWRA and the Institute of Welding merged to form The Welding Institute in order to serve the industry better as “a single voice for welding technology.” The BWRA would later become what today is TWI Ltd, dedicated to serving the needs of our Industrial Members across the world.

Abington Hall and the surrounding area continued to be used by TWI as it continually opened offices and laboratories around the world.

The site in Abington was redeveloped with three new buildings that won an award from The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and, around this time, Abington Hall stopped being used by the company on a day-to-day basis, though through its restoration it is hoped it can be part of a vibrant and forward-thinking future for the site and surrounding area.

The planned redevelopment of the Hall includes both internal and external repair and refurbishment, including paint cleaning and reapplication, window repair and decoration and new fencing and landscaping for the surrounding estate.

There will be new configurations for the lift and washrooms to improve user amenity and the installation of showers for those who cycle to the site as well as kitchenettes, a new shared reception area and a breakout space.

The £1.6 million construction will also aid sustainability by improving the thermal and acoustic properties of the building with improved windows and doors, a new heating system and upgrades to insulation wherever possible.

Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) funding will aid job creation for the refurbishment plans as the Hall is adapted to provide a flexible space for multiple end-users on a floor-by-floor basis.

Peter Wyld, associate partner of building consultancy at Carter Jonas said: “Abington Hall has a fascinating history, and we are pleased to be working with the TWI team on this significant project to upgrade it. Once complete, it will offer modern office space and contemporary facilities whilst retaining the grandeur and elegance of its past.

“Having considered the functionality of the building and how it will be used in the future, we aim to conserve the hall whilst securing its status as a vibrant and inspiring commercial space. It has taken a great deal of planning and strategy to mobilise the project to the stage where contractors are appointed, and this moment is very special for all involved.”

TWI’s commercial operations associate director Warren Bath said: “TWI is investing £1.6 million into the refurbishment of Abington Hall, an important historic landmark for Cambridgeshire and the company.

“This newly refurbished space will be purpose-built to facilitate scaling companies and support the growth of the life science hub. We are extremely pleased to be partnering with the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) and Carter Jonas to realise our vision.”

The full history of the building can be found on TWI’s website here.

Image source: Carter Jonas

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