Clipsham Limestone to renovate The University Arms Hotel in Cambridge

February 03, 2016   |   By

Clipsham Limestone from our Medwells quarry has been specified for a large hotel renovation project in Cambridge. Building work is now underway to transform the University Arms Hotel and is expected to be completed in 2017. The loathed 1960s extension at the front of the University Arms in Regent Street has been demolished after Cambridge City Council’s planning committee backed proposals for a ‘neo-classical’ replacement to match the 1920s accommodation beside Parker’s Piece without a single objection (unheard of in a scheme of this scale!).



The works (to be completed by R G Carter) involve a comprehensive refurbishment of the interiors and the implementation of leading classical architect John Simpson’s scheme to replace the unattractive 1960s and 1970s extensions with attractive new classical buildings dramatically enlarging the hotel and giving Cambridge its much-needed world class hotel. Best use has been made of the existing architecture, retaining features that give the hotel its historic character and the new porte cochere, not only marks out the new entrance, but provides architectural ornament to the street scene.

stamford stone supplies university arms hotel


A city drenched with so much history of using local stone, we are delighted that the architect specified our Clipsham limestone, in which its use had been noted for centuries, but has in the past on occasions has been overlooked in favour of cheaper imported stones, a testament to the architects aim…

“In Cambridge we are aiming to create something with timeless appeal: architecture that honours the traditions and creates an aura that is present in so much of the historic architecture in the city.’ 

John Simpson, Architect

stamford stone restoration university arms hotel

The University Arms holds a special place in the history of Cambridge. Cambridge’s oldest hotel, which opened in 1834 The hotels renewal is being led by John Simpson, one of the world’s leading traditional architects whose major works include The Queens Gallery, Buckingham palace and the Major development surrounding St Paul’s Cathedral.

‘John Simpson is widely acknowledged as the leading architect in the country of beautiful buildings that are both inventive yet classical and traditional so that they fit into the context of existing and often historic buildings.’  

Professor David Watkin, Emeritus Professor of the History of Architecture, University of Cambridge

stamford stone stone carving university arms hotel

At the heart of the plan to restore the hotel is the removal of the unattractive buildings from the 1960s and 70s that obscure the attractive buildings from Regent Street, replacing the modern buildings, setting them back from the street in line with the buildings that adjoin, with an attractive, new classically designed building that references the history of the hotel and the site, Cambridge’s better-known architectural vernacular and the buildings in the immediate vicinity.

stamford stone-stonework university arms hotel

The extension will add 71 bedrooms, and create up to 100 jobs.