Danson House

Purcell, Kent, 2005


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Principal facade 

John Critchley     Download Original

  • Principal facade    
  • Original limestone and replacement ashlar and plinth stones    
  • Entrance hall with door through to central stair    
  • Refurbished dining room    
  • Opulently painted library    
  • Saloon doorcase detail    
  • View into the octagonal saloon    
  • Ceiling detail    
  • Central stair    
  • Detail of dome over central stair    
  • Side bedroom on the top floor    
  • Principal level floor plan    
  • Bedroom level floor plan    
  • Section A-A    
  • West front before restoration    
  • Dining room before restoration    

Restoration and repair of a decaying Palladian villa

Built by Robert Taylor between 1762 and 1767, Danson House is a Grade I listed Palladian villa. Left empty in the 1970s, it was suffering from structural failure, leaking roofs, timber decay and infestation, and was on English Heritage's Buildings at Risk register.

English Heritage commissioned the practice to carry out a £4m refurbishment, comprising structural repair, stonework conservation, the removal of decay and infestation, the installation of a permanent roof covering in Westmorland slate and the reinstatement of the principal interiors.

The most opulent room is the octagonal saloon. When the practice started work, the plaster was bare and the fixtures were missing. After restoration it is covered in bold blue paper embellished with Chinoiserie motifs - the nearest match to the original pattern. The paper is matched with a refined plaster ceiling comprising eight radial panels around a central rosette.

The architects were able to draw on extensive research by members of English Heritage’s Historical Analysis and Research Team.


  • Begun: 1995
  • Completed: 2005
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £4M
  • Funding: English Heritage
  • Address: Bexleyheath, Kent, DA6 8HL, United Kingdom

Professional Team