Specialist tile maker Craven Dunnill Jackfield has played a key role in the restoration of the tiled hall floor at Keble college, Oxford.

After more than 130 years of heavy foot traffic, the original Minton tile and oak board floor was crumbling away and major restoration was needed. Craven Dunnill Jackfield, a specialist period tile manufacturer, had to make 4,500 replacement tiles, perfectly colour-matched to the remaining originals, in non-standard dimensions.

The floor was tiled and inset in polished oak. The main signs of deterioration were the state of the lime mortar in which the tiles were originally set and the loss of colour and unevenness of many of the original encaustic tiles.The red and black tiles were originally made using a dust-pressed method, with the colour permeating throughout the 20mm-depth of the tile, while the green and buff coloured tiles were made as encaustics, which meant the resulting surface colour wore away over time.

After considerable discussion with the conservationists, the college decided to stiffen the floor using plywood and to install a synthetic mat on which the tiles are fixed using modern, flexible adhesives. The encaustic tiles were replaced with hand-made, dust pressed versions, ensuring continuous colour throughout the 20mm thickness.

Craven Dunnill Jackfield