East Midlands Highlights
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Derby Cathedral Quarter: investment scoops national award
After eight years of collaboration and investment in Derby's Cathedral Quarter, Historic England is delighted to hear of the retail neighbourhood's success in the 2016 Great British High Street Awards.
The Business Improvement District has scooped the top award for the 'city location' category. The judges were particularly impressed with their 'hard work to attract inward investment' enabling them to 'turn the Cathedral Quarter into a respected brand'.
Historic shopping area needed investment and expertise
The historic shopping area, in a designated Conservation Area, needed investment to refresh its collection of historic buildings whose character had been lost through neglect, clumsy alteration and crude modern fascias.
In response, the City Council and Historic England offered shop owners advice and funding in return for their investing an equivalent amount in repairs and refurbishment. Since 2008, 91 grants have been approved in Irongate, the Strand, Sadlergate, Wardwick and surrounding streets.
The partnership scheme was one of a number of initiatives which enabled the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District to raise its game. With improvements which the City Council has made to the streetscape, browsing its fascinating range of independent shops is now a pleasure.
Jobs and shoppers benefit
Evidence from follow-up surveys suggests that 250 jobs have been created or protected, sales and retail footfall has increased and confidence in the retail market has been renewed. No wonder Derby Cathedral Quarter scooped this coveted award - our congratulations to all concerned.
Heritage at Risk - the latest East Midlands picture
Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register provides an annual snapshot of the health of England's historic environment. In the East Midlands additions to this year's Register include one of the tallest windmills in England, Nottingham's historic subscription library, and a nationally important industrial complex.
Sites repaired and removed from the Register include St Mary's Freeby, Stydd Hall, which had been on the Heritage at Risk Register since it was launched in 1998, and the magnificent ruins of Crowland Abbey.
We will be featuring these and more sites here over the coming months. Below you can read about what has been achieved at Oakham Castle, Rutland, which is making very good progress towards being removed from the Register.
This year's register incorporates sites in North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire which were previously included on the Yorkshire and Humber Register. Consequently there has been a significant increase in the number of entries on the East Midlands Register this year.
Across the region 25 sites have been removed from the Register and 37 sites have been added. Over the past year, Historic England has offered £1.3 million in grants to help 21 of the region's best loved and most important historic sites.
Oakham Castle revealed
Years of careful planning at Oakham Castle in Rutland are now reaping their reward.
The remains of the curtain walls, dating to the 13th century, had been damaged by vegetation growth and required extensive repairs and consolidation. This work commenced in 2015 and is now well on the way to completion.
Until recently it was almost lost from view, but now the castle and its historic significance as a seat of justice and administration can be fully appreciated.
The repairs are part of a wider programme of work by Rutland County Council, advised by us and grant-aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Work to the Great Hall has provided improved visitor and community facilities. Now this historic site is set to become an important heritage destination and valued amenity for the town of Oakham, capital of England's smallest county.
Rare medieval shrine restored at Worksop Priory Gatehouse
One of the finest medieval buildings on the East Midlands' Heritage at Risk Register is being restored to its former glory.
Worksop Priory was once one of Nottinghamshire's wealthiest monastic houses. The gatehouse is one of only two survivors of its kind in England: a walkthrough shrine. As at the other surviving example in Canterbury, pilgrims would enter one side, kneel to pray before an altar, and leave on the other.
The Augustinian church and gatehouse survived the 16th century Dissolution of the Monasteries. But by 1998 weather and decay were taking their toll, and the gatehouse and cloister wall were identified as buildings at risk.
Now repairs to shrine masonry and roof have been completed, the exquisite vaulted ceiling and the decoration (shown below before restoration) have been restored.
The rescue partners
The work was made possible by funding from Historic England and local authorities, and support to the Worksop Priory and Gatehouse Community Trust from the Prince's Regeneration Trust.
The shrine is now occasionally open so that we can all once more admire its intimate jewel-like interior.
Follow us on Twitter @HE_EastMids for updates to this and other projects we're funding.
Apethorpe Palace: the ultimate country house rescue
Apethorpe Palace is one of England's foremost country houses, with a strong royal pedigree. It was saved from decay between 2004 and 2014, and is now secure in the hands of a new owner. This rescue forms an important chapter in the long and illustrious history of the house, chronicled in a new book. Its publication marks the culmination of one of Historic England's most ambitious projects to date.
New book documents Apethorpe's history and rescue
Apethorpe: The story of an English country house is written by Historic England staff involved in the rescue. It reveals how the house grew and evolved as a home of courtiers, politicians and aristocrats from the mid-15th century, and how it became a favoured haunt of several English monarchs. In the second half of the 20th century the condition of the building deteriorated to such an extent that, in 1998, it was declared a Building at Risk.
Occasionally, when heritage of the highest national importance is under threat and there is no-one else to step in, Historic England is the only public body that can act to save it. Apethorpe has been just such a case.
The book presents what the authors discovered about the history, materials, layout and decoration of the house, to inform the ambitious programme of repair. The opportunity was even taken to find new ways to produce traditional Collyweston roofing stone, the extraction of which had virtually dried up.
Open to the public 50 days per year
The new owner of Apethorpe Palace is committed to the full restoration of the property. The house is open for pre-arranged tours on 50 days a year, and these can be booked through English Heritage, the charity now arranging access on our behalf.
The photograph below shows the roof timbers, exposed during repairs in 2007. It has been uploaded to the list entry for Apethorpe Palace by Paul Adams as part of Historic England's Enriching the List scheme.
East Midlands Local Office
2nd floor, Windsor House,