Preserving Burnley’s past: restoration awards handed out

Roger Frost, chairman of Burnley Civic Trust, presents an excellence award to Harrison Kiely, director of Berkshire Homes, with Chris Bailey , site manager (s)
Roger Frost, chairman of Burnley Civic Trust, presents an excellence award to Harrison Kiely, director of Berkshire Homes, with Chris Bailey , site manager (s)

From a fire-hit Elizabethan mansion transformed into state-of-the-art homes to a Padiham Street restored to its former glory, the jewels in the Burnley borough’s crown were recognised at the Civic Trust’s annual awards ceremony.

Among those presented with prizes by Civic Trust chairman Mr Roger Frost were representatives from Berkshire Homes who re-developed The Holme, in Burnley Road, Cliviger. The grade-two listed former manor house, which was also a care home at one time, was ravaged by fire in 2003 and for years was targeted by vandals and fly-tippers as well as appearing on English Heritage’s “at risk” register nine years running. The building has been converted into 10 apartments.

It makes a fantastic difference. The building has been almost totally restored and looks like it did in the past

Roger Frost on The Holme

Mr Frost said: “It makes a fantastic difference. The building has been almost totally restored and looks like it did in the past. We were very pleased to give it the award.”

The Civic Trust is also hoping to install one of its commemorative blue plaques at the site, which was the home of local history pioneer Thomas Whitaker.

“He was somebody who wrote several very important local history books. The Holme to us is something the Civic Trust has wanted to see restored ever since the fire and they’ve done a splendid job.”

Also picking up an accolade for restoration work was Padiham firm Atkinson Morley Construction Ltd which has given some of the buildings in Mill Street a facelift.

Historically the main street in Padiham, Mr Frost said some of the buildings in Mill Street would probably have had to be demolished if they had not been updated.

“In this instance what we liked was the restoration of the buildings in the oldest part of Padiham that would have gone had they not been restored.”

The Habergham Eaves Parochial School in Trafalgar Street was also highlighted as a shining example of conservation.

Built in 1840, the building was affiliated with Holy Trinity Church in Accrington Road and is thought to be the second oldest day school in Burnley.

“Inside it was absolutely typical of a Victorian school. The boys and the girls were kept separate and there was one really big hall which was divided up with partition walls. You could then take the walls down and use it as a stage.”

Until recently the building had been used as a showroom by Dexters Paints but new life was breathed into it after Burnley Council was awarded millions of pounds worth of funding to regenerate the Weavers’ Triangle area.

“The council has done a really good job of restoring the front elevation. The exterior of the building has been beautifully restored. It is one of the older buildings in Burnley. We had hoped it would be used for commercial purposes and create some jobs. The Weavers’ Triangle once had between 12 and 13,000 jobs. There were some big firms there.”

Another project praised by the Civic Trust was the re-opened dry dock at Bank Hall. “Birley’s Dock” was restarted by semi-retired couples Les and Angela White and Brian Dennison and Jane Garnett for canal boat painting and repair.

The dock dates back to the early 1820s and was once regarded as the best dry dock on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Mr Frost said: “They know what they are doing these people. It’s superb round there because you’ve got the dock, the antiques centre and the garden full of birds.”