Oakfield House, Chester Zoo


This Grade II listed house, built in the 19th century, was purchased in 1930 by George Mottershead as a home for his private collection of animals. In the following year he opened up his menagerie to the public, and Chester Zoo was born. Today it is one of the largest and most visited zoos in the UK. Oakfield House has been altered and adapted over its lifetime to provide administrative accommodation for the growing Zoo.

Donald Insall Associates provided full architectural services for adapting the building and its setting in order to better serve the needs of the zoo today and for the future. We prepared proposals for a full scheme of building repairs including re-roofing, window refurbishment, internal reordering and a comprehensive renovation to transform this historic asset into a high quality gastro-pub. The project involved two contemporary extensions; one to provide a state-of-the-art catering kitchen and one on the main garden elevation to provide a garden room with seating for 80 additional covers.

Glazed link block looking upwards
New rear extension
Pub sign showing TheOakfield


[Donald Insall Associates'] ambitious vision for the project has transformed the founder’s home into a beautiful open and inviting space for zoo visitors to enjoy. They worked hard to co-ordinate the design with the other consultants and interior designers to ensure the important features retained their status within the conversion. Their attention to detail ensured work on the restoration of the main house has been completed to a high standard and means the building can continue as a long lasting legacy.

Cathy Partington, Director, Chester Zoo

Before and After

Before image showing rear of Oakfield House
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