Friday, February 10, 2012

The Bannister Building

Hannah Swift, a student on the BSc Construction Project Management met Sir Roger Bannister on 22 November 2011. Sir Roger is a former Master of Pembroke College and Hannah met him at his home in Oxford to talk about his role in the acquisition of a historic house in the heart of medieval Oxford (now known as the Bannister Building). Hannah spent her placement year working for Kingerlee Construction on the refurbishment and partial reconstruction of the Grade II listed Bannister Building as part of a much larger project that included the  establishment of a new quadrangle surrounded by five new buildings. The new development is linked across Brewer Street via a bridge. 

During the extensive ground-works, significant archaeological excavations were conducted and the site uncovered medieval tenement settlements along with a tannery and brewery dating back to the 13th century. Notable amongst the finds is a section of a rare knucklebone floor, constructed with hundreds of tightly packed sheep leg bones.

During her meeting Hannah talked about the history of the early acquisition of the old buildings during the 1980s, when Sir Roger was the Master. Lady Bannister claimed credit for the purchase, commenting that "I spotted the for-sale sign on my way to art class and quickly headed back to College to tell my husband". The acquisition proved to be a good one as generations of students benefited from living in a characterful and historic building.

Sir Roger Bannister and Hannah Swift
Photo by George Blumberg
Quintin Lake, an architectural photographer has written a really interesting blog about the development which contains some wonderful pictures. Visit his blog at:

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