England’s largest castle, and a royal palace, dates back to William the Conqueror but the first stone buildings were erected between 1165 and 1179 during Henry II’s reign. At nearly 1,000 years old, it is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world.
Following the 1992 fire that destroyed 115 rooms (including nine State Rooms), Donald Insall Associates was appointed as coordinating architect for the main phases of reconstruction and restoration. The five-year restoration programme encompassed a range of approaches: for example, the State Rooms’ significance as an architectural sequence was such that it was decided that they merit a faithful restoration, while St George’s Hall offered the opportunity for something new in the spirit of its earlier history.
Our work included recreation of the magnificent architectural interiors in the destroyed principal State Rooms and the replanning and rebuilding of many areas of associated staff and service accommodation. With the works completed on time and within budget, Windsor Castle was restored to royal use exactly five years from the date of the fire, since which time it has received an increasing number of visitors.
The project employed a large number of craftsmanship specialists, simultaneously providing an opportunity to train a new generation of specialists.