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Relevance of plans for Riddel's Warehouse re-tested

28 August 2020
UK

Hearth Historic Buildings Trust, Northern Ireland’s longest established buildings preservation trust, has been awarded a further Project Viability Grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund to allow them to review their business plan for the Riddel’s Warehouse project in Belfast in light of the Covid emergency.

Built in 1865, and designed by Thomas Jackson and Son, for John Riddel and Co. ironmongers, the B+ listed warehouse offers a unique tangible link to Belfast’s industrial heyday.  Behind its polychrome brick exterior lies an extraordinary 5-storied atrium, with storage areas all around, from where Riddel’s products were distributed.  The building was owned throughout ‘The Troubles’ by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and served as a security ‘buffer zone’ for Musgrave Street Police Station.  Hearth acquired the building in 2013, thanks to a loan from Ulster Garden Villages. 

The Trust has been testing and developing plans for co-working and arts spaces, during a very active meanwhile phase, with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Resilient Heritage programme.  A Viability Grant, awarded by the AHF in January 2020, helped Hearth to establish the Riddel’s Warehouse Trust - a charitable community benefit society - which will allow the project to attract investment via community shares.  This latest grant will enable Hearth to review its business plan to ensure that it remains relevant before seeking further investment, and to explore how meanwhile activities can best develop into more meaningful, long-term uses as part of that review.

Hearth Committee member, Marcus Patton, said:

“Like many other projects, we have had to review our plans in light of COVID and are grateful for this grant to enable us to review and revise our business plan.”

Matthew Mckeague, CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund said:

“Like many organisations, Hearth is having to review its plans in light of the impact of Covid. AHF remains very supportive of their efforts to find a sustainable use for Riddel’s Warehouse and so we are very happy to provide this further project viability grant for this unique and significant piece of Belfast’s heritage.”

Notes to Editors

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) helps communities across the UK find enterprising new uses for the old buildings they love.  The Growing Community Enterprise through Heritage programme in NI is supported by the Department for Communities’ Historic Environment Division, The Pilgrim Trust and Garfield Weston Foundation. 

Hearth Historic Buildings Trust (Hearth) was established in 1972 and is the largest and most experienced building preservation trust in Northern Ireland.

Its aim is to demonstrate the art of the possible by restoring buildings to high conservation standards and inspire others to follow our example. We believe that historic buildings are a common heritage which can be used and enjoyed by all helping to create a healthy and stable society.

For press enquiries please contact Rita Harkin, NI Support Officer, 07789 758080, rita.harkin@ahfund.org.uk Oliver Brodrick-Ward, oliver.brodrick-ward@ahfund.org.uk or Matthew Mckeague, 07429 799335.