The availability of grants for Conservation Areas ‘at risk’ resulted in a successful bid to the The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The purpose is to undertake major work to restore the conservation value of Front Street in Alston. The award of £1.3 million is being augmented with a further £0.4 million from Eden District Council, Alston Moor Parish Council, and the property owners who participate.
All the properties benefitting from the scheme are architecturally important, and lie within Alston’s designated conservation area. Owners pay a proportion of the costs of the work on their properties. Additionally, a programme of events and training opportunities, and work on ‘the public realm’, i.e. the open areas of Front Street, form part of the project.
All the work so far has received great compliments from locals and visitors alike, and has been largely done by local building and craft contractors. One of the important training events was a five-day Conservation Masonry Repair event run by the Scottish Lime Centre, ensuring that eleven local contractors are proficient in working with traditional lime mortars.
The original five-year span of the Project has been extended, after inevitable delays owing to such difficulties as winter weather, closure of Front Street for a series of works, and the time needed to undertake effective surveys and devise plans. Already Front Street is looking more like its old self, and by the end of the Project will be a conservation area to be proud of.
If you would like to read more about how the Townscape Heritage Project started in the first few years please click on the button below to go to the Partnership Archive.
Visit "The Top Cafe/Ryder House" online
Works consisted of a replacement slate roof & associated roof repairs, cast iron rainwater goods, repair of stone window surrounds. Lime repointing where needed to parts of the front elevation. Retaining & refurbishing existing original shop front including reinstating the missing historic finials and replacing the ‘teapot’.
Visit "The Cane Workshop" online
Works consisted of the re-rendering of the front elevation in a hydraulic lime render, repairing and painting the tall northern gable wall with a silicate paint. Restoration of the local stone roof and chimneystacks, cast iron rainwater goods, repairs to stone sills. Full replacement shop front to reinstate as per historic photographic evidence.
Visit "Mad Hatters online
Works consisted of reinstatement of shopfront with historic detailing, cast iron rainwater goods, replacement door to cellar, associated masonry works, minor roof repairs, replacement of the stone flags to front, repairs to steps / stairs and replacement of the iron railings and canopy.
Visit "Livewell" on Facebook
Works consisted of roof repairs, cast iron rainwater goods, removing the existing render on the frontage and gable to reinstate the lime pointed stonework which was underneath the render. Full reinstatement of the shopfront with historic detailing, repairs to the front shop steps / stairs and replacement iron railings and handrails.
Visit "Alston Wholefoods" online
Works consisted of a roof replacement and associated repairs, replacement and/or repairs to the stone windowsills and lintels, cast iron rainwater goods, replacement windows to front and the reinstatement of the traditional shopfront with its historic detailing.
Works consisted of primarily repairs and reinstatement to the walls of the building which are visible from the street and the church yard, masonry works included rebuilding and lime pointing, cast iron rainwater goods, windows and doors and restorative works to the distinctive front porch area.
Works consisted of repairing the existing shopfront beam, repairs to the passageway ceiling and beam and some repairs to the upper floor windows. Reinstatement of lime render to both the passageway and the front elevation; works to the traditional shopfront joinery and its roof.
Works consisted of specialist removal of the black paint to the existing masonry, a new stone lintel above the doorway and stone step, lime pointing and/or repair to masonry and areas of new render. Reinstatement of shopfront, new shopfront joinery and a new hanging sign.
We would like to thank Peter and Rachel Wilkinson for most of the historic photographs and Countryside Consultants for the before and after photographs. Thanks to Simon Danby for the historical photo of Church Gates. Thanks also to those individual shop owners who provided photographs.
For more information about the Townscape Heritage Initiative please contact Jennifer Campbell, the Project Manager.