Today (19th November) marks 25 years since the first National Lottery draw.
Since 1994, the National Lottery has raised more than £39 billion for good causes. Of this, £7.9 billion has been distributed to over 43,000 heritage projects. Today, The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) is the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK.
Buttress has been involved in numerous National Lottery Heritage Fund projects, helping restore, transform and breathe new life into valuable heritage assets across the country. To celebrate the occasion, members of our ecclesiastical and heritage teams took a look back at just some of the transformational lottery-funded projects they have been involved in over the years.
Norton Priory Museums & Gardens
The 'Monastery to Museum 900' project was a transformational capital project for Norton Priory Museum and Gardens. The project involved the replacement of an outdated and unfit for purpose museum building with a new museum that celebrated the site’s 900 year-history. The new buildings contains a gallery space across two floors, and a central atrium which integrates the entrance to the site’s 12th century undercroft – the only part of the Priory still standing. An improved café, shop, and educational facilities were also created while exhibition space was increased by 60%, allowing the museum to display its full collection for the first time.
“Norton Priory had been cherished by the local community for generations, with a strong feeling among residents that it showcased the area’s rich history. Yet many felt that it had been undervalued and underappreciated across the wider area. The site is also located in an area that faces major socio economic challenges, and the museum had become an important community resource, with a long history of volunteering and outreach work.
“We worked closely with museum staff to create opportunities where the community could inform and shape outcomes for the new museum. By ensuring that residents remained integral to the process, we were able to create both a new museum and a true community asset.
“Since the completion, the museum has become a source of great pride for local people, while museum partner, Halton Borough Council, has increasingly drawn on it as a cultural symbol for the area, using the new development as an opportunity to influence economic policy for the wider Merseyside region, with associated benefits for those living there.”
- Stephen Anderson, Director
The Rotunda Museum
The Grade II* listed Rotunda Museum was conceived as a home for the geological collection of the Scarborough Philosophical Society, under the inspiration of William Smith, the “Father of English Geology”. By 2005, however, the building and collection looked tired and out-dated, with a lack of space and difficult access.
We were appointed to undertake a significant project of conservation and restoration of the fabric and plus internal remodelling for extended visitor galleries and facilities. A centrally placed lift was also inserted into the building allowing access to all floors and principal areas, enabling the museum to meet modern accessibility requirements.
“The Rotunda Museum is particularly special to the practice because it was our first museum project as well as our first lottery-funded project. The project mixed fabric repairs with an innovative approach to exhibition design to tell the history of the museum and explore the stories of those who brought the collections together.
“The work we delivered at The Rotunda then opened the door to further museum projects. Today, we now have an established arts and culture team who work with museums professionals, curators and exhibition designers to create inspiring cultural spaces. Most recently this has included the development of Blackpool Museum, which is one of the largest museum projects underway in the North of England. The National Lottery has been pivotal in allowing this project as well as many others we’ve worked on to happen.”
- Neal Charlton, Director
Lincoln Cathedral Connected
Lincoln Cathedral Connected is a £15 million lottery-funded project which is aiming to radically improve the Cathedral’s setting and visitor experience with extensive landscape works, improved visitor facilities and significant conservation work to the first parts of the Cathedral experienced by visitors. The project hopes to bring an additional 125,000 visitors to the Cathedral each year by 2020.
We are engaged as Conservation Architects to the project, a role which sees us leading on work to the West Front of the Cathedral, in particular, the Southern Run of Romanesque Frieze, Bishops statues and Gallery of Kings sculptures, as well as works to the 14th century Exchequergate Arch, which leads visitors into the Cathedral Close.
“The south Romanesque Frieze has been covered since the late 1980s for preservation due to the disintegration of the attached gothic sculptures. Now, thanks to funding from the National Lottery, the restoration works these sculptures need has begun to take place.
“The restoration of the south Romanesque Frieze is regarded as one of the most sensitive conservation projects that’s currently active in the country, and it’s a real privilege to be part of the part of the team working to ensure that this fascinating, landmark structure can be enjoyed for the next 900 years.”
- Nicholas Rank, Director
St. Leonard’s Church, Middleton
St Leonard’s Church is a Grade I listed Anglican parish church in Middleton, Greater Manchester. The building is believed to be located on the site of a Saxon church and the earliest fabric within the church dates from the Norman period. The church has several features of significant historic interest. This includes, a small stone tower surmounted by a weather-boarded belfry, believed to be one of only two of its type in the country.
We worked with the church to deliver a NLHF project for masonry repairs and repointing work to the tower, south elevation and south porch. The application also covered the reconfiguration of a 1950s extension to install an accessible lavatory and refurbished kitchen, as well as the repair of the timber cladding to the bell-cote, refurbishment and gilding of the weathervane, and repairs the roof.
“Working on the Medieval Parish Church of St Leonard, Middleton was a really rewarding yet challenging project from a conservation point of view. The nature of deterioration to the masonry meant that decisions for the repair or replacement demanded complex thinking and involved managing the expectations of various heritage bodies as well as those of the church community.
“However, the excellent craftsmanship of the stonemasons has led to a very satisfying result with the new work blending well with the original stone. It has been a delight to see how pleased the church community has been with the project, and to know that the work we’ve carried out will preserve this important historic building for future generations.”
- Steve Welsh, Studio Principal
Headstone Manor is a 14th-century moated manor house. The manor building is Grade I listed and features later works from the 17th and 18th centuries. The site is made up of four listed buildings, listed at Grade I, II and II* which hold the Harrow Museum.
We developed a major lottery-funded project to restore key buildings across the site, create a new Welcome building and reinvigorate the museum offer.
"The NLHF project that stands out for me would have to be Headstone Manor. It was a project-driven from inception to completion by a highly committed museum and heritage team (with a healthy volunteer contingent), and it was evident that the site was an essential part of both the local and wider community.
"From a personal point of view, it was a great project as it entailed an interesting mix of conserving historic buildings, contemporary design in a heritage context, and introducing an interpretive element to the whole site. It has been really rewarding to see the museum continue to thrive as a unique heritage site at the heart of its community."
- Grant Prescott, Associate