Our Projects: Brewhouse, Peterhouse College, Cambridge

The Old Brewhouse at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, has been restored and given a new lease of life to be used and enjoyed as a venue for music, drama and arts within Peterhouse college and the wider community.

Peterhouse is one of the oldest colleges in Cambridge, which was founded in 1284. The grade II listed Brewhouse dates back to the 16th century, when it was used as a home by the Beaumont family. It later functioned as a small brewhouse before being used for storage throughout the 20th century.

The works have uncovered more of the building’s structural history, which has been altered, extended and reduced in size and repaired using materials inappropriate to the building’s fabric based on necessity over many centuries.

The Old Brewhouse may appear modest and unassuming at first, perhaps due to its positioning at the college, nestled behind the Master’s Lodge and next to the Pembroke College Library.

However, the project involved the sensitive repair of the striking timber frame that defines Brewhouse’s character.

Central to the client’s vision was to preserve and enhance the unique historic character of the main first floor space, restoring it to a single open-plan room, whilst fully expressing the historic timbers internally. The space is used by the chapel choir and drama groups and for social events and art exhibitions. A new external staircase gives access to the upper level and the installation of a lift towards the back provides disabled access.

The restoration received two awards at the Greater Cambridge Design and Construction Awards 2022; the best conversion, alteration, or extension of an existing building; and a Craftsmanship Award. It has also won a Highly Commended Award in the Civic Trust 2023 Awards.

The project was completed within budget and to programme under the local contractor and craftsperson.

  • Client: Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge
  • Sector: EducationHeritage
  • Services: Cost Consultancy
  • Contract: Confidential

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