BaR news Round-up - July 2022

The addition of 60 new entries to the Buildings at Risk register has taken the number of entries to 1,239.  To ensure that all of the new entries can be viewed in one place, there is a full list of entries with a photo gallery which is accessible to all visitors to our website. Click here to view the full list.  

In addition, June saw work on updating the existing 142 entries on the register in the East Midlands.  Here we highlight two encouraging stories from Northampton and some news on a building in the Grimsby Docks.

Former GT Hawkins Factory, St Michael's Road, Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN1 3JU

This former boot and shoe factory, formerly the staple industry of the town, has been vacant for years.  The factory was built in several phases at the end of the 19th century for the firm G T Hawkins. Hawkins was the Queen’s bootmaker and the Royal warrant is displayed on the building. After 120 years of trading, Hawkins finally vacated the site in 1998 leaving the buildings redundant.

Our 2022 update has revealed that planning permission was granted in March 2022 to convert the factory into 89 new "New York" style apartments. Lender, Octopus Real Estate has provided a £9 million loan to fund the project, which is a joint venture between property developers OEH Group and Acca Group. Work on the site is already underway.

Hope Methodist Church, Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire, N10 8DD

Despite its striking façade and its situation within a conservation area, in 2008 permission was approved for the demolition of this fine, though unlisted, building and its replacement with a modern church.

The Hope Methodist Church was built in 1903 by Thomas Dyer of Northampton. Its west front, facing the High Street, is richly detailed with limestone dressings. Features include a pair of stained glass windows with elaborate tracery, a stone porch, pinnacles and buttresses.

The church had been empty for three years when we added it to the register in 2009 and its condition had deteriorated. Windows were broken and water ingress led to the collapse of some interior plasterwork, but mostly within the extensions. 

Complete demolition did not in fact proceed and permission was then granted in 2015 for the demolition of the former hall and other ancillary buildings at the rear of the church. This was completed by June 2016 and the church was made watertight. Further permission was granted in January 2019 for the construction of a new hall and entry at the rear of the church, and the horizontal subdivision of the existing church to create a worship area on the upper floor and a community and function space on the lower floor. This work is nearing completion.  It is an interesting project, which though involving some demolition has enabled the retention of the church and a reworking of the interior spaces to make it multi-functional.

Peterson's Fish Processing and Smoking Factory, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, DN31 3PZ

Down a narrow street just off Fish Dock and a stone's throw from the sea, Peterson's Fish Processing and Smoking Factory stands idle. Built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, its narrow smoking tower rises to the rear, extending almost the whole width of the building. The top of the tower has ten truncated pyramidal caps of rendered brick, seven of which have tall metal cowls above.

This fascinating grade II listed building is one of a collection of small fish processing and smoking factories in this area of Grimsby dating from its heyday as the world's premier fish port. It was nominated in 2015 by the Conservation Officer and SAVE became involved in the campaign to save the nearby Cosalt Buildings in 2016 which was sadly unsuccessful.  However, the loss of these buildings helped to prompt new focus on the historic dock area, also known as the Kasbah, which became a conservation area in 2017. SAVE have also campaigned for the grade II* Great Grimsby Ice Factory which is to undergo remedial work and we have written in support of proposals to turn it into a theatre complex. 

Peterson's Smokehouse however is now almost completely restored and represents a great success story.  The project has been spearheaded by the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust. The smokehouse and a cafe in a nearby building are due to be open in late 2022.  Click  here to go to the Kasbah website for more information.