£1.2 Million Grant from Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the Restoration of Priory House in Dunstable
Working in partnership, Historic England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund have given support to enable a comprehensive scheme of repair and restoration at Grade II* listed Priory House in Dunstable.
Grant funding of more than £1.2 million has been awarded (£1,142,730 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and an additional £126,970 from Historic England).
Priory House, which is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register, is the centrepiece project in the Dunstable High Street Heritage Action Zone, run by Dunstable Town Council and supported by both Historic England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Priory House undercroft, a stone-lined and vaulted medieval cellar used for storage, is a rare and almost complete example from the 13th century.
It is suffering from environmental and structural issues, including excess dampness and flooding, with movement and cracking in the stonework.
Conservation-accredited structural engineers The Morton Partnership are leading a multidisciplinary team of professionals, including contractors Messenger BCR and subcontractors Cliveden Conservation, who are working to sensitively repair the undercroft, protecting and retaining as much of the original 13th century material as possible.
The funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England will support further repair work necessary to conserve the medieval vaults, see the tearooms back in use at full capacity and the first floor exhibition space refreshed and reopened for public events.
Completion of this work is planned for August 2024 when Priory House will be removed from the Heritage at Risk Register and will be a vital focus of local community life once again.
We now understand all of the issues which have been causing concern over many years – including occasional falls of stone internally, periodic flooding, structural discontinuities in the building fabric, and an increasing inability for the building’s drainage to deal with increased rainfall. The archaeological research which has been carried out as part of this project has shone a helpful light on the surviving medieval fabric.
We are delighted to be working with Historic England in supporting Dunstable Town Council with the urgent restoration of this exceptional Grade II* listed building. Thanks to National Lottery players, we're able to support important projects such as the necessary conservation and structural repairs of Priory House, ensuring that heritage is safeguarded for future generations.