The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is delighted that six AHF-supported projects across the UK have secured significant grant funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing them to progress with plans to conserve and restore important historic buildings in their respective communities.
Congratulations to all six projects, each of which the AHF has supported from an early stage, providing advice and funding to help organisations develop plans for the sustainable re-use of these buildings.
You can find more information about the successful projects below.
Images: The exterior and interior of Jumbo Water Tower. Photos courtesy of North Essex Heritage.
Jumbo Water Tower, Colchester, Essex
Formally known as Balkerne Water Tower, the Grade II*-listed Jumbo was built in 1883 and provided fresh water for Colchester until it was decommissioned in the 1980s. Standing at 34.5m tall, it is the largest Victorian municipal water tower in England. North Essex Heritage has leased the Jumbo for 150 years; it plans to restore and convert the building into a financially sustainable heritage and community space for Colchester. The AHF has supported the Jumbo Water Tower project with three Project Development Grants since 2018. Now, the project has initially been granted round one development funding of £250,000 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans.
Image: Dewsbury Arcade.
Dewsbury Arcade, Dewsbury, Yorkshire
This Grade II-listed shopping arcade was built in 1899. Over time, it has been home to a wide variety of tenants, from coffee houses and florists to tobacconists and record shops. However, after a decline in town centre footfall, the steady departure of tenants, and the deterioration of the site, Dewsbury Arcade closed in 2016. In May 2020, Kirklees Council purchased the arcade as one of the lead projects in the ‘Dewsbury Blueprint.’ With the help of the Arcade Group, a community business formed with the purpose of leasing and managing the arcade, the Council plans to fully refurbish the building and fill it with a range of independent local traders, along with a great food and drink offering. There is also a second floor running above the shops that will offer 9 studios. The AHF supported the Dewsbury Arcade project with a Project Viability Grant in 2020. Now, the National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded the project a £4.5m grant, completing the financial package and allowing the refurbishment to begin.
Image: The former Assize Court. Photo courtesy of Devizes Assize Court Trust.
Devizes Assizes Court, Devizes, Wiltshire
Built in 1835, the former Assize Court was one of a number of prestigious public buildings that were part of the development of Devizes as an administrative centre in the 19th century. The building ceased public use in the late 1970s and was sold by the County Council in the early 1980s. It subsequently fell into the hands of a series of private owners, each of whom struggled to bring forward appropriate or viable plans for the building. Wiltshire Museum, working closely with the Devizes Assize Court Trust, plans to revitalise the derelict Devizes Assize Court as a vibrant community hub and iconic new home for Wiltshire Museum and its world-class collection. The AHF has supported this project with two Project Development Grants since 2019. Now, the project has initially been granted development funding of £300,748 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans.
Image: St Conan's Kirk. Photo courtesy of the Friends of St Conan's Kirk.
St Conan’s Kirk, Lochawe, Argyll
Designed and constructed by Walter Douglas Campbell from 1881-1886, St Conan’s Kirk is a unique Category A-listed building in Lochawe. Alongside holding a religious service once a month, the building has now become a hub for community activities, including music, theatre, volunteering events, guided tours, weddings and more. In recent years, Friends of St Conan’s Kirk has been working on a transformative project that will open up currently inaccessible areas of the building, as well as provide crucial facilities to ensure its long-term future as a visitor attraction and community hub. The AHF supported this project with a Project Development Grant in 2018. Now, the National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded the project a development grant of £93,792, allowing it to progress with its plans.
Image: Silverburn Flax Mill.
Silverburn Flax Mill, Leven, Fife
Silverburn Flax Mill is one of Scotland’s last-remaining flax industry buildings. Once owned by a local family named Russell, the B-listed mill and its 27-acre park were gifted to Leven Town Council in the 1970s, but have since closed. Having taken on the lease for Silverburn Park, Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) plans to develop the derelict Flax Mill into a health and community hub. The AHF has supported this project with three Project Development Grants since 2015 and a Heritage Impact Fund loan. In 2020, FEAT also received help from RePlan, the AHF’s capacity-building support service. Last year, the National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded the Silverburn Flax Mill project a grant of £3.47million, allowing plans to progress. Now, in response to increases in capital costs following unforeseen inflationary and material cost rises, the project has been awarded a significant grant increase of £1,200,000.
Image: Proposed circus school at the former Cathedral School. Photo credit to John McCloskey.
Cathedral School, Derry
With St Columb’s Cathedral as its backdrop, the Grade B+ listed former Cathedral Primary School was built in 1891. Until the early 1990s, it provided a space for education, social activities, and community life. However, having since lost its use, the building has fallen into a state of disrepair. St Columb’s Cathedral and In Your Space Circus plan to breathe new life back into the building by transforming it into a circus school and performance venue, offering children, young people, adults, and artists a space to learn, play and create. In 2022, the AHF supported this project with a Project Viability Grant. Now, In Your Space Circus has been awarded a £140,000 grant by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to initiate its plans.