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Spitalfields, , E1 6AQ
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020 7925 0199

The AHF appreciates that neglected buildings which are all too familiar in our towns, cities and countryside can, with a little imagination and a lot of enthusiasm, be rescued to become assets for their communities by people wanting to make a difference. The AHF has helped hundreds of organisations throughout the UK to do exactly that.

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Key secrets of Abergavenny's important Gunter Mansion to be revealed

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

Photo 06-07-2017, 11 24 21.jpg

The Welsh Georgian Trust’s Gunter mansion restoration moves one step closer as the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund have announced that they are awarding grants towards an in-depth archaeological and building research survey. The Heritage Lottery Fund award of £10,000 is alongside that of £5,000 already pledged by the Architectural Heritage Fund.

Gunter Mansion is a Grade II* listed, largely 17th Century, town house formerly belonging to the Gunter family.  It contains an incredibly important Catholic chapel dating from the late 17th Century which was hidden for over two centuries and rediscovered in the early 20th Century.

The two grant bodies recognise that the project is of local and national significance.  These grants will enable the Trust to provide evidence-based answers to some key questions, such as to the original date of the building, its uses, and how much of the building was originally used for the chapel.

As part of the application process the Trust invited tenders for the survey from a number of conservation architectural practices, and the project has been awarded to local firm Morgan and Horowskyj. Their surveying team will include a number of historical building specialists and the initial results are expected by the end of June.

The Welsh Georgian Trust acquired Gunter Mansion and its secret 17th Century Catholic chapel in Abergavenny thanks to grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) and the Pilgrim Trust in 2017. Additional funding was raised by a crowd funding campaign, which attracted widespread support.

The chapel became notorious in the 1670s, at a pivotal time in British history. The Catholic activities at Gunter were so shocking that they were reported to Parliament and created the atmosphere for the Titus Oates plot which quickly followed, initiating a wave of anti-Catholic paranoia, to which the king had no option but to respond.

In 1678 Charles II issued a warrant for the immediate arrest of all papists and Jesuits. The priests Philip Evans and David Lewis, who regularly held mass at the Chapel in Gunter were arrested by the end of the year and subsequently condemned to death for their religion. David Lewis then became the last Catholic martyr in Wales.

The resultant increase in sectarian tension effectively ruled out any accommodation of Catholicism within Britain, paving the way for the crisis over James II’s Catholicism less than ten years later, which led directly to the Glorious Revolution.

As well as a particularly fine 17th Century plaster ceiling on the first floor, the second-floor chapel contains important graffiti dating from the 17th Century Gunter ownership which gives incredible insight into the period.  In recent years the building has been neglected and at risk of serious decay.  Once the specialist building survey has been completed the Trust intends to apply for future funding to enable the restoration to take place.

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Andrew Beckett, Chairman of The Welsh Georgian Trust, said: “We now have a fantastic opportunity to make Gunter Mansion a great asset to Abergavenny and this part of Wales and the funding we have secured for the building survey will, we hope, uncover more of its secrets. We aim to restore the building so that will use it people can experience a fascinating and important part of our history, which will resonate with people on so many different levels.”

Richard Bellamy, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, neglected or run-down historic buildings are not only rescued but conserved for future generations to enjoy and learn from. The Gunter Mansion project will help reveal the hidden history of a building, showing how it can provide an important link to a community’s roots.”

Matthew McKeague, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said: "This is a building of significant historical importance. Creating viable uses for buildings requires close collaboration and consultation with the local community and the strength of support is evident through the large number of 'Friends of Gunter Mansion'. We're pleased to be supporting the project at this vital, early stage and will continue to support the Welsh Georgian Trust as they seek to identify sustainable uses for Gunter Mansion."

For more details about the Gunter Mansion project and The Welsh Georgian Trust please visit the Trust’s website or contact the Trust’s office administrator Ben Baugh on 01873 568 068 or


Notes to editors

About The Welsh Georgian Trust

The Welsh Georgian Trust is a Building Preservation Trust using Architectural Heritage Fund and Charity Commission approved Memorandum and Articles of Association. We are a company limited by guarantee, a registered charity. Our trustees have vast experience of the historic environment in Wales. We have an office in Monmouth but cover all of Wales and the Marches.

Our objects are to preserve for the benefit of the people of Wales and the Welsh Marches and of the Nation, the historical, architectural and constructional heritage that may exist in and around Wales and the Welsh Marches in Georgian and Pre-Georgian buildings (including any structure or erection, and any part of a building as so defined) of particular beauty or historical, architectural or constructional interest.

For more information please visit

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.  Follow us on facebook HLFWales and Twitter @HLFCymru

About the Architectural Heritage Fund

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976, to promote the conservation and sustainable reuse of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in areas of deprivation.  We are the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK.                       Twitter AHF UK                 Twitter AHF Wales

Former Birmingham Canal Offices to house innovative arts collective

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

 Photography by David Rowan

Photography by David Rowan

Digbeth, once Birmingham’s industrial centre, has developed a vibrant contemporary arts scene over the last fifteen years but now creative communities are being priced out of the area as property prices are pushed up by the anticipated location of the HS2 terminal close by.

A £25,000 grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund is supporting an exciting partnership between the Homes and Communities Agency and Grand Union Studios to develop unused former canal offices into a permanent affordable base for the artistic community close to the city centre.  The buildings are located at the junction of the Grand Union and Birmingham and Fazeley canals and comprise a terrace of handsome 1850s offices to the front, constructed of engineering bricks, with a pair of gabled red brick warehouses to the rear that were used to manage the transfer of goods from one canal to another.  A major fire in the warehouses over twenty years ago stripped out the buildings, and despite shell refurbishment, all the buildings have been empty and unused for over 10 years. 

Now the heritage spaces will be refurbished into light and airy exhibition spaces, affordable studios, offices and a café. The increased floor areas, compared with their current premises, will enable to the Grand Union Arts Collective to work with a wider range of audiences and increase their sustainability. They will also be able to better support emerging talent better and enhance their innovative work with international artists and curators.

 Photography by David Rowan

Photography by David Rowan

Matthew McKeague, CEO of AHF said “This is an important project for this part of Birmingham, one that is experiencing rapid change. Retaining the historic canal offices as an affordable creative space will be important for both place making and expanding the work of Grand Union. AHF is very pleased to be supporting the project.”

Grand Union’s Director, Cheryl Jones said “This is an extremely exciting and timely opportunity for Grand Union to put down firm roots in Digbeth. We will create a world- class facility that enables us to support many more artists in the city, and a welcoming gallery where you can encounter some of the most interesting contemporary art being created in the UK today. Part of our programme will see renowned artists working alongside local people to find innovative ways of bringing the heritage of this important conservation area to life. We are very grateful to Architectural Heritage Fund and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for their investment, supporting the development of this ambitious capital project”.

For further details about the project visit

Heritage Lincolnshire to put the Old King's Head in Kirton back on the map

Oliver Brodrick-Ward


The Heritage Lottery Fund has offered a grant of £1,987,300 for the conservation of the Old King’s Head in Kirton, near Boston.

Local charity Heritage Lincolnshire has ambitious plans to rescue this historic building at risk and is set to bring it back into use as a community café and B&B. With over 25 years’ experience saving historic buildings at risk from dereliction – the Old King’s Head is set to be their 9th project after the charity purchased the building in 2016.

The Old King’s Head is Kirton’s oldest secular building and has been at the heart of the community for over 400 years, but as a historic building at risk it was on the brink of being lost forever.  All that is about to change, as the grant will fund the conservation of the Old King’s Head and stables and restore this much loved local landmark back to the centre of village life. It is fitting that the former coaching inn, that is sited on the main trading road between London to Boston, is set to have an exciting future as a travellers’ rest once again.

Heritage Lincolnshire has been working their professional team to ensure the final designs demonstrate how heritage led regeneration can revitalise community assets and bring economic and social benefits to the area.

During the project there will be plenty of opportunities for local people to get involved as there is a packed programme of activities planned from a community archaeological dig, to a Heritage Explorers Club, talks and day trips as well as popular hard hat tours.


Liz Bates, Heritage Lincolnshire’s Chief Executive Officer said “We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for this grant and delighted that local national lottery players will be able to see the good cause money being spent in their area.”

“Heritage Lincolnshire plans to retain ownership of the building when it is completed and looks forward to working with local partners, such as the RSPB at Frampton Marsh, to welcome visitors to the area.”

“The project has received huge support from the local community – our crowdfunding campaign has now raised just under £6,000 and volunteers have been helping with our research, events and fundraising. We look forward to creating a new community asset in Kirton that will offer jobs and new facilities to local residents.”

Heritage Lincolnshire has also received support from the Architectural Heritage Fund, Boston Borough Council, and the Pilgrim Trust and this early stage funding has been instrumental in helping the charity to progress to the full restoration of the building. The next steps for Heritage Lincolnshire are to secure the rest of the funding to complete this project. In autumn 2018 construction work will commence and the programme will be on track for a 2020 opening.

"It's fantastic to see this Heritage Enterprise award to The Old King's Head. AHF assisted Heritage Lincolnshire with loan finance to purchase the at risk inn and with this award the project can be realised. It's great to see such an enterprising approach being taken to the future of this building."  Matthew McKeague, CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund.

Editor's note:

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976, to promote the conservation and sustainable reuse of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in areas of deprivation.  It is the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK.

For further information contact: Lucie Oakley, Support Officer: 0300 121 0752

If you would like to support Heritage Lincolnshire and really make a difference to this project, please get in touch via, 01529 461 499.

Once upon a time...... Great Yarmouth's North West Tower

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

Great Yarmouth.jpg

You might think of Rapunzel letting down her hair when you see this flint and brick tower, it’s straight from a fairy tale. But it’s no fantasy that Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust is pursuing, the Trust has been offered an Architectural Heritage Fund grant towards development work to restore the tower. The North West Tower is part of Great Yarmouth's scheduled medieaval town wall, constructed between C13 and C14. The town wall has 11 towers along its length, a defensive "flinty ring of steel". The North West Tower lies at the most northerly point, next to the River Yare and has been vacant since 2004.

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust is planning to fully restore the Tower and convert it to holiday accommodation. The Preservation Trust has already undertaken a similar project with the South East Tower, where you can already sample the high life by booking it for a stay.

Funding for this project has been generously supported through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s ‘Community Enterprise through Heritage’ programme.   

Editor's note:

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976, to promote the conservation and sustainable reuse of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in areas of deprivation.  It is the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK.

For further information contact: Lucie Oakley, Support Officer: 0300 121 0752


Heritage at Risk London Report features AHF funded projects

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

 The Ivy House, Nunhead

The Ivy House, Nunhead

Lichfields have recently completed a study of ‘Heritage at Risk’ in London on behalf of Historic England that includes a number of AHF funded projects. The report includes ten case-studies from across London showing how investment in heritage at risk can deliver significant regeneration outcomes, from economic and employment outputs to community engagement and education.

The report features case studies of ‘The Concrete House’ and ‘The Ivy House’, both part AHF funded. Both these and the other case studies show the potential benefits of investing in ‘Heritage at Risk’ and how such investment not only protects heritage buildings but also generates productive assets that address a range of community needs: ‘The Concrete House’ has delivered affordable housing and ‘The Ivy House’ is once again a thriving pub, community and cultural venue.

The report is available here

Luton Culture Trust Putting on the Hard Hats

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

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Following Luton Culture Trust’s successful funding bids to bring over £6million of new investment to Luton, work has recently begun to transform three former hat factories into 25,000 sq. ft. of new workspaces for creative industries. The Hat District development comprises three key buildings at the centre of Luton: the formerly derelict Hat House at 32 Guildford Street, Hat Works at 47 Guildford Street and the existing Hat Factory Arts Centre situated in the Plaiters Lea Conservation area.

The vision of the project is to create more work opportunities, amplify cultural vibrancy, preserve important heritage buildings and breathe new life into the heart of the town, by creating a bustling creative neighbourhood. The work is being masterminded by Luton Culture, an arts and culture charity which runs the Hat Factory Arts Centre, Wardown House, Museum and Gallery, Stockwood Discovery Centre, Luton’s Library Theatre, Luton Libraries and some community centres.

The journey begins at Hat Works which will house workshop and co-working spaces ideal for start-ups and entrepreneurs who want to develop their creative ideas, services or designed products. The building will also provide a reception for all Hat District visitors and tenants, bookable meeting rooms, and a made in Luton showcase area. The Hat Factory offers a theatre, comedy bar, café, skills workshops and education spaces, start-up and retail units, and a diverse and stimulating year-round arts programme. At Hat House, more established creative businesses can lease professional workspace in the former factory building.


Luton Culture Trust is a charity so all rental income will be re-invested back into arts activity, events, facilities and promotions to support and grow the District’s offer in the future.  Major funding for the Hat District has come from the SEMLEP local growth fund (£3.961m), Heritage Lottery Fund (£127,900) and Arts Council England (£499,500). This adds to project capital funding from Luton Borough Council (£340,000) and grant funding from Historic England (£44,000) and The Architectural Heritage Fund (£25,000).

Marie Kirbyshaw, Chief Executive of Luton Culture and Hat District Project Lead, said of the vision for the Hat District:

“I look at this stunning straw hatters clock in my office every day - it is broken and doesn’t tick so I have set it to 20:22 which is when the Hat District creative workspace project will be delivered.  By then we will have achieved 133 new jobs, 25,000sqft of new creative workspace, a sustainable financial model for the Trust, 193,000 new visitors and we will have regenerated an incredibly important area of Luton.  I am determined to transform these empty and broken resources into vibrant and culturally relevant assets once more.”

More information on the Hat District project can be found at, with information about Luton Culture at

 Editors’ Notes

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976, to promote the conservation and sustainable reuse of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in areas of deprivation.  It is the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK.

For further information contact: Lucie Oakley, Support Officer: 0300 121 0752


Charterhouse, Coventry's 14th century monastic site secures £4.38m from Heritage Lottery Fund

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

Charterhouse Coventry rear elevation.png

Charterhouse is a little known, but outstanding historic site, to the south of Coventry’s city centre. Founded in 1385 by Richard II as a Carthusian monastery, it has been extensively adapted over the centuries for domestic use, but retains spectacular medieval wall paintings and much of the medieval Prior’s lodgings and rectory.

Taken on by the Historic Coventry Trust, after a public outcry when it was offered for sale on the open market, we are delighted to report that Charterhouse has just received a major grant of £4.3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  This funding is the key to its future and the culmination of years of work to secure the site.

Thanks to this grant, the people of Coventry will once more have access to this important part of their heritage. The building will be restored with new visitor facilities to encourage local community involvement and the surrounding parkland will be opened up for recreation and enjoyment. It is anticipated that the building will open in 2020 to coincide with Coventry’s City of Culture offer.

Charterhouse is part of the biggest asset transfers of historic buildings from a local authority to a trust and has been supported with grants from the Architectural Heritage Fund. Historic Coventry Trust, is a regeneration company, merging private sector expertise with social gain. It has a long term vision – to preserve the city’s heritage for the next 1,000 years of its history.

 Photograph by PR

Photograph by PR


Editor's note:

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976, to promote the conservation and sustainable reuse of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in areas of deprivation.  It is the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK.

For further information contact: Elizabeth Perkins, Support Officer: 0300 121 0745

Historic Cardigan Markethall receives a boost to secure its long term future

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

Cardigan Markethall.jpg

Mae Neuadd Farchnad hanesyddol Aberteifi yn derbyn hwb i warchod ei dyfodol hir dymor

Mewn cyfarfod a gynhaliwyd yn Neuadd y Dref, Aberteifi, ddydd Mercher y 28ain o Fawrth, datganodd Ymddiriedolaeth Cadwraeth Adeiladau Aberteifi ei llwyddiant wrth sicrhau arian datblygu (ar gyfer cynllunio manwl) tuag at brosiect £1.7 miliwn i ddiogelu, i adfer ac i drwsio Neuadd y Farchnad, Aberteifi, yn ogystal â gwella mynediad i’r adeilad.  Darparwyd grantiau datblygu ar gyfer y cymal cyntaf hwn gan Gronfa Dreftadaeth y Loteri, gan y Gronfa Treftadaeth Bensaernïol ac o dan gynllun Cymunedau Gwledig Llywodraeth Cymru - Rhaglen Datblygu Wledig 2014-2020.

Dywedodd Lesley Griffiths AC, Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Ynni, Cynllunio a Materion Gwledig: “Rwy wrth fy modd o gefnogi adfer Neuadd y Dref, Aberteifi.  Bu’r farchnad yn masnachu ers mwy na 150 o flynyddoedd ac rwy’n gobeithio y gwnaiff barhau i roi lles i’r dref am flynyddoedd lawer.”

Mae Rhaglen Datblygu Wledig 2014-2020, a ariennir gan Gronfa Amaethyddol Ewrop ar gyfer Datblygu Gwledig a chan Lywodraeth Cymru, hefyd wedi cynnig £127,000 ychwanegol at ail gymal y cynllun (cyflawni).

Dywedodd Howard Williams, Cadeirydd yr Ymddiriedolaeth: “Mae hyn yn newyddion gwirioneddol gyffrous i Aberteifi gyda’r potensial i roi lles i’r holl gymuned.”

Bydd y cymal datblygu hwn yn caniatáu i’r Ymddiriedolaeth, wrth weithio gyda pherchnogion yr adeilad, Cyngor Sir Ceredigion, ddatblygu a chynllunio trefniadau manwl dros yr ychydig fisoedd nesaf a sicrhau gweddill yr arian sydd ei angen. 

Dywedodd Matthew McKeague, Prif Weithredwr Cronfa Treftadaeth Bensaernïol: “Mae gan y prosiect hwn botensial mawr i adfywio Neuadd y Farchnad ac i ddangos ymhellach y manteision o drosglwyddo asedau oddi wrth awdurdodau lleol i sefydliadau cymunedol.  Gellir eu gweld yn Neuadd y Dref gyfagos, sydd wedi ei chefnogi hefyd gan y GTB fel noddwr tymor hir YCA Aberteifi.  Edrychwn ymlaen at weld y prosiect hwn yn llwyddo yn yr un modd.”

Mae gan yr Ymddiriedolaeth weledigaeth ar gyfer y safle sy’n cynnwys datblygu a gwella mynediad y cyhoedd a chyfleusterau i’r masnachwyr ac i’r cyhoedd ac sy’n cynnwys hefyd cyfleoedd ar gyfer cysylltiad, addysg a hyfforddiant.  Bydd hanes treftadaeth y farchnad yn cael ei adrodd drwy ddulliau dehongli sy’n tanlinellu pensaernïaeth a hanes unigryw'r safle.

Codwyd Neuadd y Farchnad yn 1860 yn arddull y ddiwygiadaeth Gothig ‘Ruskinaidd’ a ddilynodd yr egwyddorion a osodwyd yn llyfr John Ruskin, 'The Stones of Venice', a gafodd ei gyhoeddi yn 1856.  At ddibenion cadwraeth mae’r neuadd yn adeilad  Gradd 2*, yn sgil bod yn un o’r adeiladau dinesig cyntaf ym Mhrydain i ddilyn egwyddorion Ruskin.

Cafodd Neuaddau’r Dref a’r Farchnad eu comisiynu yn 1856 i fod yn ganolfan ddinesig ar raddfa fach a oedd yn unigryw ac yn llawer mwy na’r neuadd-dros-farchnad arferol; y ganolfan oedd y gyntaf ym Mhrydain i’w dylunio yn yr arddull Gothig a oedd yn newydd ar y pryd.  Codwyd y Neuadd Farchnad ddeulawr ar lethr serth, a hynny’n anarferol ym mhensaernïaeth Oes Fictoria.  Mae’r adeilad wedi bod ar waith parhaol fel marchnad ers pan y’i hagorwyd yn 1860.  Gwerthfawrogir Neuadd y Farchnad a Neuadd y Dref fel rhannau pwysig o dirwedd hanesyddol, gymunedol ac economaidd yn dref.

Historic Cardigan Markethall receives a boost to secure its long term future

At a meeting held at Cardigan Guildhall on Wednesday the 28th of March the Cardigan Building Preservation Trust announced that it had been successful in securing development funding (for detailed planning) towards a £1.7 million project to conserve, restore and repair Cardigan Markethall, as well as improving access to the building.  The first phase development grants totalling £109,000 have been provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014 - 202.

Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs said: “I am delighted to be supporting the restoration of Cardigan’s Market hall.  The market has been trading for more than 150 years and I hope it continues to benefit the town for many years to come.”

The Rural Development Programme, 2014-2020 which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and by the Welsh Government, has also awarded a further £127,000 to the second delivery phase.  

Howard Williams Chair of the Trust said: “This is really exciting news for Cardigan with the potential to benefit the whole community.”

This funded development phase will allow the Trust, working with the building’s owners Ceredigion County Council, to develop and plan a detailed scheme over the next few months and secure the remaining funding. 

Matthew McKeague, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said: “This project has great potential to bring a new lease of life to the Markethall and to further demonstrate the benefits of asset transfer by a local authority to a community organisation. These can be seen at the adjoining Guildhall, which the AHF also backed as a long-term supporter of Cardigan BPT. We look forward to seeing this project achieve similar success.”

The Trust has a vision for the site that includes developing and improving public access, trader and public facilities and opportunities for engagement, education and training. The story of the Market’s heritage will also be told through heritage interpretation that highlights the unique architecture and history of the site.

The Markethall was built in 1860 in the style of 'Ruskinian' Gothic revivalism that followed the precepts laid down in John Ruskin's book 'The Stones of Venice' published in 1854. The building’s conservation listing is Grade ll*, as one of the first civic buildings in the UK to follow Ruskin's precepts.

The Guildhall and Markethall complex was commissioned in 1856 as a unique civic centre in miniature, far more than the usual hall over a market, and the first in Britain designed in the then-modern Gothic style. The two storey Markethall, built on a steeply sloping site, is very unusual in Victorian architecture. The building has been in continuous operation as a market since its opening in 1860. Both the Markethall and Guildhall are valued as important parts of the town’s historical, social and economic landscape.

Cardigan Markethall 2.jpg

Business Development Officer Vacancy

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is seeking to recruit a Business Development Officer to help with the delivery of its investment objectives by attracting and delivering new lending business to the AHF and the UK’s heritage sector. The AHF presently has three lending streams (Heritage Project Fund, Community Heritage Support Fund and Heritage Mortgage) and will soon be initiating a fourth: Heritage Impact Fund. 

The Business Development Officer position is permanent and allows for flexible working. The pay is c.£35,000 p.a. (negotiable) plus 8% pension contributions.

For more information regarding the position please click here.


Deadline for applications - 5pm 24th April

Interviews will take place on 9th May


Interested parties must send a comprehensive curriculum vitae supported by a detailed covering letter setting out how you meet the requirements of the role. Please include the names and addresses of two referees.


For all enquiries please contact:

Andy Richardson, Investment Manager, The Architectural Heritage Fund, 3 Spital Yard,   London, E1 6AQ
Email:  Telephone: +44 (0)20 7925 0199


Breaking new ground for the community in Wolverton

Oliver Brodrick-Ward


Future Wolverton's enterprising plans for the Old School have taken a major step forward.  A ground breaking ceremony was held on 16 March to celebrate the start of their project to restore the Grade II listed building. 

The Old School was built by the Radcliffe Trust in 1856-7 to benefit the children of their Wolverton Estate tenants and farm labourers.  It served the community for over a century, more recently being leased by the local Parochial Church Council, but when this came to an end, the future of the Old School became in doubt. Future Wolverton stepped in, developing a partnership with adjoining Slated Row School, a community special school for children and young people with moderate to complex special educational needs.  With help from an AHF Project Viability grant of £3,000, together with local funding, an emerging concept was tested aimed at reinventing  the School's community and educational role.  

The two storey School House will be converted to provide a B&B guesthouse, run in term time by the students. An extension will house a café space, run by the students as a social enterprise and serving the adjoining School Hall which will be available for hire to businesses and the community. This enterprising model will enable the students to gain valuable life skills as well as BTEC qualifications.  An AHF Project Development grant of £5,000 helped with finalising the plans. The first phase of the project, now underway, will see the Guesthouse open for business and the external new build elements completed.   

As a Community Benefit Society, Future Wolverton was able to raise over £122,000 in capital through a successful Community Share offer, boosted by a contribution from Power to Change, which has also provided substantial grant funding.  Our Project Development grant has been converted to an investment in the Shares. An AHF loan of £110,000 is providing working capital. 


Matthew McKeague, CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund said:

Future Wolverton is a fabulous organisation, forward looking but also interested in how heritage assets can be repurposed for modern use and be an active part of 21st century communities. Their enterprising approach to the Old School is a perfect example of this and we are very pleased to be supporting the project through our investment. We can’t wait for the opening.”

Marie Osborne, CEO of Future Wolverton said:

“We are very excited to have finally got to the point of work beginning on site at the Old School, and along with the wider community, can’t wait to watch this fantastic listed building come back to life. The loan AHF have been able to offer us is the final piece of a funding jigsaw, which has seen us raise over £800,000 to bring this wonderful building back into community and education use.  AHF have been a continual source of financial support, advice and guidance since we began this project in 2012, and we are delighted to be joined by them at the sod-cutting ceremony on the 2nd March.”   

Editor's note:

The Architectural Heritage Fund  is a registered charity, working since 1976, to promote the conservation and sustainable reuse of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in areas of deprivation.  It is the leading social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK.

Future Wolverton is a Community Benefit Society established in 2013 to support the sustainable regeneration of the town of Wolverton and the surrounding area. The organisation has over 200 local members,  and 125 shareholders in the Old School Project.