Bridgnorth's Bishop Percy's House has finally re-opened its doors to reveal its amazing transformation
One of the county's oldest buildings has officially re-opened its doors – after a four-year renovation project that has seen it converted into a tearoom and holiday flats.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the grade I listed Bishop Percy's House, in Cartway, Bridgnorth, was finally carried out by the Mayor of Bridgnorth Councillor Ron Whittle on Saturday, a week later than planned due to the bad weather.
Owners Reg and Maria Allen were on hand to welcome visitors to the premises who were also given a tour of the upper floor which has been converted into visitors', accommodation each sleeping four guests, offering spectacular top floor views across the River Severn and the town centre.
The original features have been kept at the 16th century half timbered property, which used to be home to the Bridgnorth Boys Club. But modern bathroom and kitchen fittings have been installed to bring the property into the 21st century.
Huge rugs are laid on the original wood floor and the rooms have been tatsefully furnished with antique items.
Councillor Whittle said: "The opening went really well. It was lovely to see the old place come back into its own. It was lying empty for a very long time so it's been nice to see what Marie and her husband have done with it.
"Probably for me the highlight was seeing the apartments upstairs. I thought it was really wonderful how they have been restored. I walked into one of the rooms and there was a gorgeous stone fireplace and I though 'wow'. Around 20 people turned up for the ribbon-cutting and by the time I left the place was heaving which was nice to see. Its good to support our local businesses."
Bridgnorth resident Emma Jordan said: "I absolutely love it. They have really done a good job with the rooms. It's so cosy and these three-aspect views are amazing, overlooking the river and the town."
Owners Mr and Mrs Allen say the restoration and building project has been a labour of love to breathe new life into from the 1940s until 2003 and they were delighted with the public response.
Mr Allen, 65, a retired businessman, says: "The feedback has been excellent. Everybody has been saying how amazing the transformation has been and they're pleased that the original features have been kept. It's taken a long time, but a lot of that was to do with the getting the planning consents and surveys were carried out for everything from checking for bats to the timber. Lots of people have been asking if the timber was okay, but we've had no issues at all with it.
"The roof space was all open, so we've put in partition walls to create the holiday flats."
Mrs Allen said, 59, added: "It's been a labour of love and something that I've wanted to do for a long time. People have also been saying that if they have relatives and friends come to stay, they would consider booking the flats."
Bishop Percy's House was originally known as 'Forster's Folly' and was built in 1580 by Richard Forster. It was one of the few properties of its type to survive the great fire of Bridgnorth in April 1646 and was given a grade listing in 1949. It has been unoccupied since 2003.
The tea room offers breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea until 5pm. There are pictures and artefacts from the site's past are displayed in the cafe.
The work has included the construction of two separate contemporary homes overlooking the river, which are due to be finished by Easter.
For more information about the historic house visit the website www.bishoppercyshouse.co.uk.