An Oxford icon welcomes 21st Century security

Gallagher Security provides an in-depth case study into how Rhodes House’s unique challenges were met with the protection of a Gallagher access control solution 

For more than 100 years Rhodes House has been a jewel in the crown of the Oxford landscape. Steeped in history, its walls have played host to Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, and former US President Bill Clinton. Today the historic, grade II* listed country house continues to display its iconic old-world charm, whilst an impressive restoration and renovation project has bought the building and its security provisions seamlessly into the 21st Century. 

In 2019 a major restoration and modernisation project designed by multi award-winning practice, Stanton Williams Architects began, with the intention of bringing the building into the 21st Century, while expanding the scope of what the house offered to the wider community to increase its revenue stream.  

At the same time, a security and access project began, bolstering the building’s security to cater to the cross-functionality, and inevitable influx of community members the renovation project would enable.  

But such a project was not without its challenges – installing locks on 19th Century, ornate wooden doors was no simple task.  

Gallagher Command Centre embraces the new, while respecting history. 

Gallagher’s award-winning site management platform, Command Centre offers alarm, access, and perimeter security in a single product, and its installation has allowed Rhodes House to seamlessly navigate the increased capacity and movement permissions on site. 

While wall panels were removed during the major re-wiring project as part of the renovation, it provided the perfect opportunity to simultaneously tackle the building’s security and access installation, which up until this point, had been non-existent.  

Rhodes House Estates Administration and Safety Manager, Martin Boyt says installing a solution while the building ‘was literally pulled apart’ was perfect timing. 

“Prior to 2020 there was no access control, no CCTV. The building was basically as it was 100 years ago. This project meant Rhodes House went from the 19th Century straight to the 21st Century,” says Martin.  

Seamless integrations to bolster security and increase operational efficiency  

With 111 doors, 130 employees, more than 200 scholars and upwards of 300 guests at any one time, Martin says the solution has made life a lot easier. 

“Gallagher access control has proved extremely valuable for the running of these events as we have been able to assign access to individual areas for short periods and adjust access time. It has also been useful to assign event organisers (non-Rhodes staff) an access card for their specific event which only grants access to certain parts of the building. The versatility of the system is so useful,” says Martin. 

“The usability of the system is great. To be able to differentiate access between main users and members of the public for events allows us to enable movement, but only for the places people need to be. It’s also a very easy to use and informative system. Trained users can comfortably work their way around it and adapt things either temporarily or permanently,” adds Martin. 

Securing the future 

While stepping foot inside the building today feels effortless, a cohesive collaboration that celebrates the new while paying homage to the old exists, the improvements to security and access have discretely boosted efficiency while bolstering security. 

Gallagher’s Command Centre, integration with CCTV solutions, and the installation of T12 readers has provided Rhodes House with a future-proof platform to taken them into the future. 

“We are certainly now very secure and alongside added CCTV, staff and scholars can feel comfortable that their safety and security has been well looked after,” says Martin. 

Read more exclusives and news in our latest issue here.

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Media Contact
Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Security Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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