The four-hundred-year-old oak timbers at the heart of our building tell us something about how the house was built and how close it came to being destroyed.

Lauderdale House was built from long carved tree trunks, each about 8cm thick. They were pinned together to make a frame, and the gaps between them filled in with wooden slats and plaster. 

Many of these original timbers can still be seen. Some bear carved marks near the joints that helped carpenters work out which piece of wood fitted where.

At the top of the stairs, through the door on the left, some timbers are so charred they’ve turned black. These once formed a window onto the courtyard. In 1963, when keepers working in Waterlow Park lived here, a fire broke out. It spread quickly, destroying the entire roof and much of the top floor.