du Boulay Contracts in Court with Jamie’s Italian!

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The Old Court House in Cheltenham had lain empty since July 2005 and the local residents could do nothing but watch this fine example of architectural heritage fall into disrepair. Finally in 2011 the Grade II * listed building was rescued from its fate when Jamie Oliver discovered this forgotten gem. With its imposing pillars and 1870’s Italianate style the building is a highly appropriate location for an Italian restaurant.

The building is arranged on three floors and the brief was to create and realise the latest concepts in restaurant design while strict planning conditions dictated that the exisiting courtroom interior be retained. Consequently the oak panelling of the witness and press boxes and the Judge’s bench has been lovingly restored and incorporated into the restaurant design. Diners can even sit in the Judge’s Chair! All of the public seating benches have been given the Jamie’s Italian touch with contrasting red and blue leather banquette seating. The combination of the old historic ornate style with the best of modern design creates a very special ambiance in which to dine.

The bar has a warm copper top and hand crafted art nouveau tiles of the period. The anti pasti bar is made from book matched Italian carrara marble and is an imposing spectacle in the main court room. The black oxidised steel display rails are laden with hanging hams, salamis and sausage meats along with rounds of Italian cheese. The toilets in the basement are located adjacent to the old cells and many of the old features such as the cell door have been retained. New bespoke glass and steel chandeliers have been crafted to create a striking design feature in the dining room and main stone staircase.

It was very exciting to have worked on this project. The listed status can present many challenges however the results speak for themselves. It is a testament to the expertise and teamwork of all involved including the architects Stiff and Trevillion, English Heritage, and the many skilled craftsmen, some of whom are local.” The project was completed within 11 weeks on time and on budget.

— Michael Reed Contracts Director, du Boulay Contracts

du Boulay have extensive previous experience of working in listed historic buildings.