Derelict townhouse gets new lease of life
A historic townhouse in the heart of a Shropshire market town has been brought back to life after standing derelict for more than 15 years.
The Grade II* listed Georgian House in Ludlow's central Castle Square was regarded by Pevsner as the handsomest house in the picturesque town.
But it has stood empty and boarded up for the best part of two decades.
Now the imposing three-storey building, built in 1728 for lawyer Edward Baugh, is alive once more as Draycott and Charles interior designers have moved into the ground floor after a major refurbishment by private owners.
More than 100 of people turned out to celebrate the opening of the stately new premises for the business at a champaign reception – and it was also an opportunity for locals to see the transformation of the building.
The garden of Mr Baugh's grand townhouse may be long gone, replaced with a car park, but inside many original features remain, including oak-panelled walls which have been carefully restored by Ledbury firm Black Dog French Polishing.
Jean Draycott, co-owner of Draycott and Charles, said it had been months of work bringing the house back from its derelict state.
"It was a huge job," she said, "There was a great hole in the floor and all the arches in the cellar were damaged.
"It was all boarded up, it was a tragedy."
Draycott and Charles is an interior design business which caters for customers across the UK after a everything from a single cushion to whole-house interior schemes.
It was started by Mrs Draycott, a former barrister, four and a half years ago, but she has lived in the Ludlow area for 15 years, she said, and in that time the townhouse had always been empty.
"In about 1970 it was taken over by the local authority and used for multi-occupancy housing," she said.
"It was housing for 20 to 30 years and then it was just shut up.
"It was finally bought last year by a couple from Australia who have done the renovation, and we have moved into the ground floor."
She said the owners lived on the first floor and would be looking at renting out the top floor as two apartments.
"We've had so many people come into the shop and ask if they could look around, because they used to live here," she said.
"We have breathed new life into it."
Draycott and Charles interiors has moved from the Chapel Works building on Old Street, which has now been sold to convert into eight apartments.
"By square footage it's actually slightly smaller," Mrs Draycott said.
"But it's much more fun, it's central, and it's buzzy," she added.
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