The Oak Hall
The architectural partnership transformed the late-Victorian/Edwardian living hall, the Oak Hall, by knocking two rooms into one, making a two-story space. This was achieved by removing a whole floor, inserting a tall Tudor-style window, and adding the Minstrels' Gallery. The monumental carved stone chimneypiece was added, surmounted by the arms of the James family with the date 1892, the year in which William James commissioned extensive alterations and improvements to the house.
At the time George and Peto created the Oak Hall, a staircase was put in with solid oak treads. This staircase led to the newly created Minstrels' Gallery which overlooks the Great Hall.
The oak panelling in this room was placed there in the late 19th century but was later embellished in the 1930s with elaborate decorative motifs designed by Rex Whistler (1905 - 1944) to a commission for Edward James. The estate passed to Edward, at only four years old, on the death of his father in 1912.