The Black Bull Inn

RBA, Cambridgeshire, 2012


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Interior looking north 

Tom Dawson     Download Original

  • Interior looking north    
  • Interior looking south    
  • Exterior looking West    
  • Oak truss detail    
  • Truss detail    
  • Reconstituted clunch wall    
  • Plan - pub    
  • Plan - restaurant    
  • Section - restaurant    
  • East elevation - restaurant    
  • Structural concept    
  • Exterior from High Street    
  • The restaurant before    
  • Eaves details    

Public house and guest accommodation, restaurant, venue

RBA were commissioned in 2011 to work on a building adjoining a grade II listed inn at Balsham in Cambridgeshire. The structure dated from the eighteenth century, and was thought to originally have been a stable or barn.

Its construction included elements of vernacular clunch block walls and an oak and pantile roof. Through poor maintenance and neglect the roof was beyond repair and imitation wattle and daub had been applied throughout the interior. The programme that evolved therefore included replacing the roof structure and stripping out the ceiling and linings.

During construction it became apparent that the entire clunch block side wall was close to collapse. Emergency tree root work ensued, together with stabilizing and rebuilding measures. The design has preserved and repaired the building’s original, listed form and fabric, while allowing the roof space to be dramatically revealed through an innovative oak and mild steel truss structure.


  • Begun: Apr 2012
  • Completed: Oct 2012
  • Floor area: 60m2
  • Sectors: Hotel, Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £85,000
  • Tender date: Jan 2012
  • Procurement: JCT 2005 Minor Works Building Contract
  • Address: 27 High Street, Balsham, Cambridgeshire, CB21 6DJ, United Kingdom

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