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3 Spital Yard
Spitalfields, , E1 6AQ
United Kingdom

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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A little beginning for a big plan for a huge building: the Great Northern Bonded Warehouse, Derby

Oliver Brodrick-Ward



An ambitious new idea to restore and re-use the former Great Northern Bonded Warehouse in Derby is being explored with a Project Viability Grant from the AHF. The aim is to establish a classic vehicle skills, storage and traders’ hub in the large former goods warehouse in Derby, which occupies a prominent raised position on the western flank of the inner ring road. It has been vacant for over 20 years, steadily deteriorating, and now derelict. It was built in 1876 by Kirk and Randall of Sleaford as part of a huge goods complex served by Friargate station. 

The ground floor will be home to a ‘skills suite’ with a training school offering apprenticeships and other shorter courses including skills training for enthusiasts. Specialist tenants will store and display their classic vehicles in high-security glass-fronted garages, creating a changing museum, visible from the restaurant on the top floor. There will also be a coffee shop, classic vehicle retail outlets, specialist artisan traders, a flexible gallery and rentable exhibitor space for product launches, VIP evenings, art displays, weddings or specialist fairs.

The AHF grant has been match funded with a Heritage Lottery Fund Resilient Heritage Grant to look at the options and identify the best route to realise these enterprising plans.

Editors Notes:

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. Its is the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK. It provides advice, development grants and loans.

For press enquiries please contact Ollie Brodrick-Ward at the AHF at 020 7925 0199 /

Obituary - Colin Amery

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

The Architectural Heritage Fund has learned this week of the sad death of one of its former Trustees, Colin Amery.

Colin served as a member of the AHF’s Council of Management for 15 years, between 1998 and 2013. His writing and journalistic skills were valued by the organisation, as was his experience as a campaigner with the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust, which saved a number of buildings in East London, and latterly across England and Wales. This gave particular insight into funding applications from those organisations wishing to bring about viable re-use to derelict buildings across the UK.

Colin possessed charm, warmth, a sense of calm, a wry wit and a wide architectural knowledge, which was valued by Trustees and staff alike, and his passing will be a great loss the UK heritage sector as a whole.

The Daily Telegraph's obituary for Colin can be found here:

Interim Evaluation of the AHF's Strategy 2016-19

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

Granby 1.jpg

To help inform a review of our current strategic plan, and to begin thinking on the development of our new strategy, we appointed Ruth Flood Associates (RFA) to undertake an interim evaluation of the AHF’s Strategy 2016-19. RFA undertook the work between April and June this year. The main elements of the consultant brief were to:

  • assess the AHF’s progress against delivery of our current strategic aims; 
  • gain feedback from a number of funders on currently live programmes;
  • consult clients (both grant and loan recipients) on their experiences of working with the AHF;
  • review the organisation’s ‘theory of change’ and approach to impact measurement.    

The main findings of the evaluation were:

  • All the projects included in the research attributed significant milestones in their activities to the AHF investment of time and funds. A number of the projects reliant on the AHF acquisition loans would (arguably) not have proceeded as the buildings could not have been purchased. Risky projects, which needed early project viability grants to develop further, would have struggled to make the case for restoration and re-use. Community driven organisations with limited experience would have struggled without the AHF support officer input to help them develop their plans, access funding and gain specialist advice.
  • Funders and beneficiaries were positive about the AHF. Funders emphasised the complementarity of their activity and partnership working with the AHF; many felt that the AHF was seen to offer more guidance, support and direction to organisations than funders generally do. Beneficiaries perceived the AHF’s early stage support to be unique in the funding eco-system, considering it to be the AHF’s core area of distinction. They also considered that the AHF funding gave their projects traction and credibility for other funders.
  • Funders felt that the AHF needed to maintain the right future role within the funding ecosystem, recognising challenges in the funding environment and in providing sufficient support to community enterprises with limited expertise to deliver successful community asset transfer projects.
  • Non-heritage organisations had a general awareness of the AHF’s activities and in working together, but stressed that opportunities would always need to include a community focus beyond the heritage or historic building outcomes.
  • Beneficiaries broadly divided into two general groups.  Those who saw themselves as benefiting mostly from funding and those who benefited from both funding and advice. The former group was most likely to be experienced Building Preservation Trusts and the latter community groups and social enterprises. The AHF’s Support Officers were highly regarded by less experienced beneficiaries as providing essential enabling advice, guidance and support. Less experienced beneficiaries also appreciated the fact that the AHF’s processes helped them to develop plans robustly and professionally.  A number of organisations new to capital projects felt they would benefit from even greater help from the AHF at the outset to further understand the processes involved.
  • Beneficiaries were acutely aware of the difficulties involved in getting project funding. Some beneficiaries identified the AHF’s requirement (in some programmes) for matched funding as a factor that slowed some projects down.
  • Some beneficiaries fed back on the comparatively high level of interest rates on some loans when compared to high street lenders; although it was recognised that heritage projects, particularly those at an early stage, were often too risky for high street lenders. A number of borrowers saw the organisation’s flexibility and package of support alongside a loan as a key reason for choosing to borrow from the AHF. 
  • All funders mentioned ‘place-making’ as an emerging key priority for government which was therefore having an impact on funding agendas. Some felt that the AHF could focus more overtly on place-making in future.
  • Funders generally regarded the AHF as demonstrating impact well, although some felt the ‘theory of change’ model and overall approach was too complex. A number of beneficiaries, particularly from small organisations, found measuring impact to be resource intensive and impacts difficult to measure.

Matthew Mckeague, the Architectural Heritage Fund’s CEO, commented: ‘These findings will be enormously helpful to us in refining our programmes and services and in understanding what the organisations we work with need from the AHF, both now and in the future. We’ll be reflecting further on the findings and as we develop our new strategy ready for launching in early 2019.’  

AHF Grant Awards July 2018

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

In July 2018 the AHF made grant awards totalling £126,070 for projects located across the UK from John O Groats to Totnes. Grants awarded included:

Project Development Grants

  • The Shallowford Trust, Shallowford Farm, Newton Abbott, Devon (£7,500)
  • Tithe Barn Trust, Tithe Barn, Landbeach, Cambs (£6,000)
  • Totnes Community Development Society, Brunel Building, Totnes, Devon (£6,000)
  • Heritage of London Trust Operations, St George's Garrison Church, Woolwich, London (£7,500)
  • John O'Groats Mill Trust, John O'Groats Mill, Caithness, Sutherland, Scotland (£7,360)
  • Capel Carmel, Capel Carmel Ty Capel a Siop Plas Carmel, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, Wales (£6,767)

Project Viability Grants

  • Champions Academy CIC, Memorial Church of the Protestant Martyrs, Liverpool (£7,500)
  • Heritage Lab CIC, Pugin's Chambers, Ramsgate, Kent (£7,500)
  • Champions Academy CIC, Memorial Church of the Protestant Martyrs, Liverpool (£7,500)
  • Egerton Village Stores Ltd, Egerton Village Stores, Egerton, Kent (£7,500) Sea Change Arts, The Ice House, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk (£7,500)
  • St John's The Next Generation Community Association, St John's, Coleford, Gloucestershire (£3,690)
  • Sea Change Arts, The Ice House, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk (£7,500)
  • Dewsbury Park Mansions Community Hub, Dewsbury Park, Dewsbury, Yorkshire (£7,000)
  • Ruskin Mill Land Trust, 9 Regent Place, Birmingham (£7,500)
  • Nene Valley Community Action, The Tithe Barn and South Barn, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire (£7,500)
  • Gateway Studio CIC, Trinity Centre, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear (£5,703) Rosemount Development Trust, Royston Primary School House, Glasgow, Scotland (£3,000)
  • Birse Community Trust, Old School and Soup Kitchen, Finzean, Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (£5,000)
  • Scottish Centre for Personal Safety, Former Barony St John Church, North Ardrossan, Scotland (£7,500)
  • Friends of Dunfermline Town Centre, Multiple Buildings, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland (£2,000)
  • Hen Eglwys Silian Old Church, Silian Old Church, Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales (£6,050)


AHF Awards Funding to Support Glasgow Communities reclaim and regenerate their Heritage

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

 The Pyramid Church

The Pyramid Church

Three community projects in Glasgow will benefit from recent grants offered by the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF). This funding round includes support to The ‘Pyramid at Anderston’, a new social enterprise delivering programmes from Glasgow’s iconic Pyramid Church, as well as funds to support the ongoing renewal of Govanhill Baths. Each project, which also includes grant support to the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association for the renewal of their music and community hub, highlights a piece of Glasgow’s unique social and industrial history.

A focal point for the communities of Anderston and Finnieston is the instantly recognizable, ‘Pyramid Church’. Designed by architects Honeyman, Jack and Robertson in 1965, the completed building arose as part of the comprehensive redevelopment of the Anderston area in Glasgow. It is currently used around the clock for a variety of community and third-sector uses; the main hall is also offered to refugees and asylum seekers as a secure place for overnight accommodation.

After working closely with the community for two years, The Church of Scotland plans to sell the building to a new organisation – the ‘Pyramid at Anderston’ - that will continue delivery of its community programmes and rejuvenate the building so that it can expand and sustain this important work. The ‘Pyramid at Anderston’ organization is planning the regeneration of the property as a mixed-use hub, and by repairing and modernizing the facilities, the building will allow increased access for a wider range of uses while maintaining affordability for people in the community. 

The AHF grant will help pay for the volunteer-led organisation to take on a part-time project organiser to manage the works.

 Govanhill Baths Community Event

Govanhill Baths Community Event

Steaming ahead with the goal of fully reopening an Edwardian Bath and Wash House, the Govanhill Baths Community Trust is progressing through the second of three phases of regeneration. Previous funds from the AHF helped support the partial refurbishment of the complex, which enabled its initial re-opening to the public. Since reopening in 2014, the building has hosted over 325 events and welcomed over 17,500 visitors. The current phase will see the reopening of the Ladies’ and Learners’ Pool, a Turkish bath suite, and an overhaul of the building structure.

The AHF grant will help the Trust employ a new Project Organiser to lead the development into the final capital works phase.

Eleanor McAllister, AHF trustee, commented: ‘These buildings are highly significant to the communities that they serve, both in terms of community identity but also in terms of the services and activities they deliver to so many people. The AHF is very pleased to be able to help support them with their future development plans.’

These AHF grants have been generously supported by funding from Historic Environment Scotland.

Three new trustees join the AHF Board

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

AHF - new trustees.jpg

Three new trustees were recently welcomed onto the Architectural Heritage Fund’s Board, bringing a range of new skills and experience to the work of the AHF.

Eleanor McAllister is both an economist and a town planner and has worked for over 25 years in the west of Scotland using both these disciplines in developing and implementing regeneration projects. She was Director of the Glasgow Building’s Preservation Trust in the 80’s and continued to work on capital delivery projects in local government for the next 15 years, including three years as Deputy Director of the Glasgow 1999 Festival Company. Eleanor was also the Managing Director of Clydebank Re-built, one of six Scottish urban regeneration companies. 

Ade Alao is Head of Investment and Development at Tameside Council and joined the Board in April 2018.  He brings considerable expertise from having held senior roles in local government for over 20 years in regeneration, investment, development, housing, economic growth, and capital project delivery. His previous Non-Executive Director appointments include serving as Chair of Northwards Housing and Vice Chair of Salix Homes - both major housing associations in Greater Manchester.  Ade was project lead for the redevelopment of Ashton Old Baths, the first completed Heritage Enterprise project in England, now a successful innovation centre for emerging businesses in the digital, media and creative sectors.

Karen Latimer had an early career as a library building consultant before working in university libraries specialising in architecture and planning and then moving into library management. In parallel with her professional career she has over 35 years’ experience in the architectural heritage sector in Northern Ireland and is currently on the Board of Hearth Historic Buildings Trust (previously Hearth Housing Association and Revolving Fund which she chaired 2000-2015) and is Publications Editor for the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society. She also served on the Historic Buildings Council for Northern Ireland, The Irish Landmark Trust and the Royal Society of Ulster Architects Practice Services Scheme.

Transforming heritage: AHF makes significant new investments in projects across the UK

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

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At the AHF’s June Credit Panel a total of 4 new loan offers were made, totalling £595,000 of new social investment into the heritage, culture, arts and community development sectors. 

Citizens Theatre in Glasgow has been offered a working capital facility of £400,000 for a major restoration of Britain’s oldest fully functioning professional theatre. The theatre has been working on redevelopment proposals for a number of years and has secured major grant offers from a number of public funders including the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Glasgow City Council, Creative Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland. The Category B listed theatre is situated in an area of Glasgow experiencing significant change in terms of new housing and commercial development. Citizen’s Theatre is committed to enhancing the lives of people in Glasgow and to producing theatre and a range of participatory events for, and by, children and young people. It is hoped that the theatre’s redevelopment will enable this vulnerable building to become an essential creative and cultural hub for the Glasgow community. For further information on the project, click here.

Oxford House in Bethnal Green, London has been offered a working capital loan of £85,000 by the AHF as part of a wider HLF-funded project to redevelop the Grade II listed building to help increase community use.

Oxford House is a three-storey red brick building constructed in 1891-2 by Keble College, Oxford, to the designs of Arthur Blomfield. It was built as residential accommodation where students and graduates from Keble College, Oxford undertook a period of residential volunteering to learn first-hand about the realities of urban poverty. Volunteers provided practical support to alleviate or remove the impact of poverty to the local community by creating projects such as youth clubs, a ‘poor man’s lawyer’, labour exchanges and adult education classes.

Oxford House is still based in the original building, but it suffered from considerable water damage which led to it being put on the national ‘At Risk’ register. Roof repairs were undertaken in 2016 with the help of an Historic England grant, but leaks still persisted, causing damage to the panelled chapel. This prompted a more widespread review of the building’s usage, where the ground floor will be used more widely as a welcoming community space with café and heritage centre.

The heritage of Oxford House embodies the diverse heritage of communities in Bethnal Green. The ongoing project explores strands of this heritage, including the role of the Webbe Institute (its youth arm) and the development of youth clubs and their impact on childhood, sport (especially boxing) and performing arts. Oxford House currently provides a diverse range of services, either directly or through its tenant organisations, to the communities within East London, ranging from healthcare to legal advocacy - the project will help facilitate the ongoing delivery of this significant local impact.



The other two offers are to Friends of Ingestre Orangery, which has been offered a working capital loan of £35,000 to help restore a Grade II listed Orangery in Staffordshire; and to Farnham Building Preservation Trust, which has been offered a working capital loan of £75,000 to help restore Yew Tree Cottage, Wrecclesham, Surrey (for more information on this project, click here).

Editors Notes:

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. Its is the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK. It provides advice, development grants and loans.

For press enquiries please contact Ollie Brodrick-Ward at the AHF at 020 7925 0199 /



Vulnerable young people to benefit from AHF grant to Warwick's former medieval Leper Hospital

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

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A Project Development Grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) will help rescue one of England’s most important historic buildings at risk. Supported accommodation for Warwickshire’s most vulnerable young people is being developed through an innovative partnership between the youth work charity, St Basils, Waterloo Housing and West Midlands Historic Building Trust at the Master’s House and St Michael’s Chapel. These are the last remaining medieval buildings on the site of the former 12th century Leper Hospital in Warwick. 

The Master’s House, a 16th century timber framed building currently in considerable disrepair, is intended to be brought back to life by the Trust and rented to St Basils as the charity’s offices and the communal centre of the complex of assisted housing for 18-24 year olds with complex needs. The 15th century Chapel, also in poor condition, will be converted as a single residential unit.  It is proposed that additional new residential units will be built by Waterloo Housing along the frontage where former alms-houses stood and to the rear of the Master’s House, allowing up to 95 young people over a 5 year period to be accommodated on the site, where they will be able to access the support services they need to make an effective transition into independent living. 

The partnership, which was brought together by Warwick District Council, benefited from an AHF Project Viability grant back in June 2017. This provided the evidence to show the project could work and it has been so successful in moving things forward that AHF has just offered another £30,000 development funding for the historic building elements of the project. 

By working together, the parties have unlocked an important heritage site with two Grade II* buildings at risk that for years has been blighted by halted development and neglect. As importantly, these old buildings will be used to bring new hope and support to the most vulnerable young people in Warwick and surrounding areas.

“This is an inspirational example of organisations working in partnership to find a solution to a complex and challenging historic building and site. It also provides a great case study of how a forward looking Building Preservation Trust can work with partners to not only find a use for a very significant at risk building, but at the same time deliver a project of real social value.”

For further details about the project visit

Editors Notes:

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. We are the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK. We provide advice, development grants and loans.

For press enquiries please contact Elizabeth Perkins, Support Officer, on 0300 121 0745 /

Viva Arts Soham - Spencer Mill Project Supported by the AHF

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

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The AHF is supporting Viva Arts with a Project Development Grant of £30,000 towards towards bringing the derelict Spencer Mill in Soham back to life as a community and cultural hub for the area. Viva Arts has been delivering arts and heritage projects for 20 years and has staged some memorable shows. 

Matthew Mckeague, CEO of the AHF said:

We’re very pleased to be supporting Viva Arts’ plans to transform the derelict Spencer Mill in Soham. Their arts and theatre work is clearly much loved by the local community and the regeneration of this important piece of local industrial heritage will give them the stage to do so much more.

The Mill is an acknowledged rare survivor of a once thriving milling industry employing many people, shaping the town and its economy. Viva’s vision is to create a community theatre with a vibrant programme as well as a community space that is available for hire by the community. The project will create jobs, help local people develop transferable skills and once again position the Mill building as an important contributor to the local economy.

Viva’s director Daniel Schumann said:

This is a hugely ambitious project with enormous potential to bring significant and lasting positive economic and community benefits to Soham and the surrounding area. This development grant is a major step forward and we are thrilled that The Architectural Heritage Fund have given us this opportunity. 

The Spencer Mill project is also supported by East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Editor’s Notes

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. We are the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK. We provide advice, development grants and loans.

For press enquiries please contact the AHF at 020 79250199 /

Resource for Heritage Projects Relaunched

Oliver Brodrick-Ward


Many heritage projects struggle to ‘pass go’. This is often as a result of a lack of experience, understanding or support in key project areas.  For those community groups seeking guidance to rescue historic buildings and bring them into sustainable use, look no further! created by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust’s BRICK Programme has been updated and relaunched.

Five tailored resource packs have been especially developed for the website, containing ‘How To’ guides, video presentations and training exercises.  These resource packs address the topics of Governance, Business Planning, Fundraising, Options Development and Digital Innovation and are completely free to download. The digital platform ensures that people working on heritage projects can continue to access the knowledge and expertise built up by the Princes Regeneration Trust (now part of The Prince’s Foundation) over its 20 years of working in UK heritage-led regeneration.

To help ensure these valuable resources remain available to the heritage sector, the BRICK-work website is now hosted by The Architectural Heritage Fund. Although we won’t be adding new material to this site we believe the information and experience they contain are a great resource for projects. If you have any queries or questions please contact us on / 020 7925 0199.