Ludlow Guildhall to get a smart new look in £107,000 refurbishment
Scaffolding has gone up around an historic Ludlow building as a long-awaited £107,000 refurbishment gets underway.
The Guildhall on Mill Street dates back to the 14th century and the town council it houses hopes the three-month programme of work will restore it to its former glory.
Ludlow-based heritage and conservation firm Treasure & Son has been tasked with carrying out the refurbishment on the Grade I listed building.
The works include essential repairs to the external and internal lead lined roof gullies and two lime plaster ceilings, as well as work to improve the fenestration to enable the council to remove three air conducting units.
The town council has worked with conservation architect Philip Belchere from Hook Mason to reduce the costs of the contract, when first quotes blew the budget.
Town clerk Gina Wilding said the council was conscious to keep the cost down while ensuring the works would have a significant and positive impact on the life and health of the historic Guildhall.
Funding for the renovation has come in part from a £27,000 insurance payout and £20,000 that was already earmarked in town council reserves. The remaining £60,000 was budgeted for in the precept demand for the 2017/18 financial year.
Now the funding and the plans are in place, it is hoped the work will be completed by May or June.
Ms Wilding said: "It was a long process as we had to go through the insurers to see what they would pay for.
"It's a very, very old building so we had to work out what was needed to make sure we would not get any leaks from the roof and get proper ventilation. It will remove the need for air units so it will make the building more ecologically friendly and a healthier building.
"When we first went out to get quotes for this work we had significantly higher quotes than what we have now, but we are finally there.
"When it is all finished, town council staff will be able to occupy parts of the building that they currently can't. It will make life easier for everyone."
The Guildhall was originally the Palmers' Guildhall, a timber aisled hall built in the late 14th Century. The building is still supported by the original timber structure, although TF Pritchard encased the building in brick in around 1768.
After those alterations the building now consists of two storeys and is made up of brick, ashlar plinth and features a plain tile roof. The window sashes feature ‘Gothick’ glazing in pointed heads which are underneath brick pointed arches and four feature heraldic lights. There is a parapet with stone coping, a moulded stone cornice and brick modillion.
The doorcase is Gothic in style and features triple shafts and a frieze with quatrefoils which was added in the alterations of 1768. The interior of the Guildhall is mostly the intact14th century hall, including its original roof with slanting cusped queen posts.
The Guildhall was previously leased to the Court Service and housed Ludlow Magistrates Court, with its interior featuring two courtrooms. The town council moved six years ago.