Cornwall is one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations. If you are looking for a unique place to stay, how about the Bodmin Jail Hotel? Driving up to this historic accommodation, the first sign of its dramatic renovation is the towering glass and charred timber lift.
Blending Heritage & Luxury with Premium Building Materials
Bodmin Jail is a Grade II listed building, so all renovation work had to conserve the heritage and character of the original structure. Despite the building being in a poor state of repair, over 85% of the original building fabric has been retained. New features, including the charred timber and glass lift, slate roof tiles and acoustic hotel doors had to sit comfortably alongside original building materials to give authenticity to the development.
The blackened timbers, large roof windows and other modern materials also had to add a premium quality to the luxury hotel. It isn’t easy to meet guest expectations and comply with modern building regulations!
Bodmin Jail as a Visitor Attraction
Bodmin Jail was originally designed by Sir John Call and built for King George III in the 18th Century. The imposing construction was largely formed from locally mined limestone and timber. As part of the new ideas in prison reform, the jail featured separate areas for male and female inmates, hot water and light area working spaces. It would have been a visitor attraction of its time, as watching executions was a popular pass time.
This county jail closed its doors in 1929 and was soon used as a different type of visitor attraction; a local casino and nightclub. Without investment in maintaining the building’s structure, parts of the building started to fall into disrepair. The loss of part of the roof resulted in damage to timber structures and crumbling walls. In the 1930s crowds gathered to watch the destruction of the building using dynamite, but they were disappointed. The thick walls and strong stone were resilient to the explosives and remained standing.
In 2004, the Wheten family purchased the jail and restored parts so it could become a historic monument and again attract the interest of tourists. A visitor in 2015 saw the potential to fully restore this unique building and give it a new lease of life.
Five years in planning and development, the four-star hotel, featuring a restaurant, bistro and gin bar opened to guests in May 2021. The complex also includes a revamped visitor attraction, with regular tours to showcase the rich history of the site.
Leading Suppliers Combine Tradition with Modern Building Requirements
Mallino Developments and Twelve Architects led the renovation of this historic building. They worked with market-leading suppliers to achieve their vision. These included Velux, suppliers of the state-of-the-art roof windows that flood the building with natural light. These windows also provide summer ventilation, thermal ventilation and comply with the fire safety strategy.
Exterior Solutions Ltd was selected as the timber supplier for the dark charred wood which is a striking feature of the core and external lift. Our Shou Sugi Ban® charred timber range is a market leader and has been widely used in heritage restoration projects. Takage, a traditional style charred Siberian Larch with a textured finish, was the selected as the best match for the architect’s specifications.
Some cell doors were salvaged from Wandsworth prison, however, Dorplan manufactured 300 replica cell doors, with black ironmongery to create an authentic finish to the rooms. The style may be traditional, however, the replicas comply with current acoustic and fire resistance standards.
The compact cells would not win favour with guests looking for luxury accommodation in Cornwall, so each guest room is formed from three former cells. The weathered stone walls and barred windows are original, but large comfortable beds and interior styling are designed to appeal to modern tastes.
“Wow. If you like history or luxury or even both then you simply have to visit the Bodmin Jail Hotel…As you pull up in the small car park…you are immediately wowed by the building.”
– Visitor’s Trip Advisor Review
Grade II Listed Hotel Renovation
With the successful completion of this property, Mallino Developments have now acquired another Grade II listed hotel. The Redcliffe Hotel in Paignton, Devon is a stunning coastal property that has been providing a warm welcome and spacious guest rooms for decades. Overlooking the Torquay and Brixham, we expect great things.
Market Leading Suppliers of Shou Sugi Ban® Charred Timber
If your renovation project or new build requires premium charred timbers, get in touch with Exterior Supplies. Our Shou Sugi Ban® timbers are offered in a range of colours and finishes to perfectly blend in with your interior or exterior design. We are experienced in working with architects and building developers to meet their project specifications.
For further information, please contact the Exterior Solutions team on 01494 711800.