Craigmyle’s Bernie Morgan reports on her recent visit to a range of inspiring heritage renovations being undertaken by the Historic Coventry Trust.
What do you get if you mix a group of visionary heritage professionals, a supportive local authority and a transformative national heritage organisation? You get Coventry, that’s what.
Last week, I visited a range of inspiring heritage renovations being undertaken in pretty short order by the Historic Coventry Trust.
In 2017, the Trust took ownership of 22 historic buildings from the City Council. So many of the projects are coming to fruition, the rate of progress has been positively dizzying. I visited:
- a Carthusian Monastery where Tudor and Medieval art will be on display when renovations finish next year
- a successful restaurant and bar which trains NEETS in hospitality skills
- two retail streets that have been restored to their former glory yet retained their tenants
- a former Anglican Chapel available for hire
- two city gatehouses and a row of Tudor cottages all of which will become holiday lets
- and the former Draper’s Hall which will open next month as a music education centre and concert hall. Tom Robinson will be the first concert – on 11th November. Tom Robinson? My hero! Wish I could get back to Coventry for the 11th – but I have a clash (no, not The Clash…).
All this progress has been possible with the support of a number of organisations, but critically the Architectural Heritage Fund. AHF has established seven Heritage Development Trusts around the country to support exactly this type of creative use of heritage assets which transform communities. The network includes Ramsgate’s Heritage Lab CIC, of which I am a director. Ramsgate is replete with heritage buildings crying out for this type of treatment. With AHF’s backing we are excited at the possibilities the town has – if we can bring landlords, such as the local authority, along with us.
In the meantime, send yourself to Coventry – you will be in for a treat!