Former Ribblesdale Hotel, Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Initiative, Blackburn

The first grant project of the Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Initiative, Blackburn is now successfully completed.

The Ribblesdale Hotel was built just after 1900 and in more recent times was known as ‘Baroque’ owing to it’s corner dome. It’s really a blend of Jacobean and Elizabethan features in a busy style made popular by the Victorian architect of London’s Palace Theatre, Thomas Edward Collcutt (1840-1924), who also designed Blackburn Museum not so far away.  Whether Collcutt also designed the Ribblesdale Hotel is not known but the style was used by many other architects.

The Old Ribblesdale Hotel as it was before the conservation work

The restoration was undertaken by the surveyor Andrew Davies of Blackburn with Darwen Council guided by the Council’s Conservation Officer, David Morris. The original colour scheme was restored after paint samples were taken. The project has been a great success and the transformation shows how conservation can transform the character of our heritage areas for the better.

Austin Grady Retires from Conservation Services North West

Photograph: John Miller (Director HTNW), Peter Taylor (Friends of Bank Hall, Chorley), Austin Grady and David Parfitt (CSNW).

Austin Grady, who has headed up Conservation Services North West (CSNW) for the last ten years, has finally decided the attractions of retirement can no longer be ignored!

Austin has led several important conservation projects in his time at CSNW, including the heroic saving of Tonge Hall, Middleton (listed grade II*) after a devastating fire which left it in a critically unstable condition.

Repair work at Tonge Hall Middleton after the devastating fire

Working alongside surveyor Alan Gardner, and operating from a cherry picker, Austin skillfully deconstructed the tangled and dangerous mess of the half-collapsed timber frame hall. He carefully logged and stored the constituent parts before carrying out exemplary carpentry repairs to the main structure, leaving the stabilized building protected by a scaffold cage.
Other notable projects include the restoration of the derelict former King’s Head PH, Blackburn (grade II listed), another building on the point of collapse, and the repair and conservation of Lomeshaye Bridge Mill in Whitefield Conservation Area, Nelson, Bank Hall, Bretherton (listed grade II*) and Lytham Hall (listed grade I).

Conservation Services NW, which is the building arm of Heritage Trust for the North West, will greatly miss Austin’s conservation skills, commitment and all round professionalism. We wish him a great retirement!

Former Kings Head, Blackburn after restoration

Future of The Pendle Heritage Centre Hangs in the Balance

For 41 years, The Pendle Heritage Centre has held a long lease from Pendle Borough Council. Although we used to receive a small grant, we have had nothing for several years now.

So how have we kept going? We have ramped up our commercial activity considerably. We host weddings and parties, conferences and meetings, and all manner of events – check out our Five Star Facebook ratings! Continue reading “Future of The Pendle Heritage Centre Hangs in the Balance”