2011 Leicester Civic Society Awards - Top Hat Terrace

Leicester Civic Society now launches its search for the winning buildings of 2011. As previously we will be giving one award for ‘Restoration’ in the context of the historic built environment and one award for ‘New Build’ specifically where that complements the historic built environment of the City of Leicester. In addition we will hopefully be making a new ‘Community Award’ for the first time this year. This will go to the individual or group, unconnected with the Civic Society, who in our opinion has made the greatest single contribution towards the preservation of our historic environment during 2011. And as with the last two years we shall also be giving commendations to the most worthy runners up.

In 2010 the prestigious Restoration Award went to Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service for their restoration of the 1927 Central Fire Station on Lancaster Road. In the ‘New Build’ category the award went to Leicester University for the Percy Gee Building. Commendations were made to St. Martins House and Equity Shoes (Restoration) and South Lodge. (New Build) Our guests of honour, Sir Peter and Lady Soulsby presented the 2010 awards.

These are Civic Society Awards and we look to Civic Society members to take the lead in nominating entries. The deadline is Saturday 4th February 2012. After this date the awards panel will meet to make site visits and decide upon the winners.

2011 Awards Ceremony

We are delighted to announce that on Friday 30th March 2012 our guest of honour Sarah Harrison, City Centre Director, will present the 2011 Awards, with a reception and dinner at the City Rooms, Hotel Street, Leicester.

Mr. Naresh Parmar, proprietor of the City Rooms has once again most kindly offered to part sponsor this year’s awards ceremony and dinner. Cost of the three-course dinner including wine has been held at £25.00 through Mr. Parmar’s generosity. As in previous years, members wishing to attend the awards ceremony only and meet the winners will once again have the chance to do so for just £3.00. Full details will be published in Leicester Citizen No.27 due out on 6th March 2012.

As we have said before, encouraging and celebrating restoration and design excellence in historic Leicester is a noble cause and one in which Leicester Civic Society is proud to be taking the lead.

Please participate and make your awards scheme a success. But remember, nominating is not restricted to Society members. Anyone can nominate a building. The winning building in the 2009 ‘Restoration’ category was nominated by a member of the public for the first time since the awards began in 2005. Encouraging and celebrating restoration and design excellence in historic Leicester is a noble cause and one in which Leicester Civic Society is proud to be taking the lead.

2011 Nominations Gallery

  • Leicester Civic Society Awards 2011 Commendation - 48 West Street
  • Leicester Civic Society Awards 2011 Commendation - 48 West Street
  • Leicester Civic Society Awards 2011 Commendation - Top Hat Terrace
  • Leicester Civic Society Awards 2011 - YMCA East Street

Restoration Award Category

It was a great pleasure to once again receive nominations for, and to visit examples of restoration that enrich our historic built environment. These beautiful buildings are the heritage of our future. Although the nominations for Restoration rose to five this year there were no nominations in the new build category, a reflection perhaps of the current economic downturn. However the Society has made a Community Award for the first time.

In the field of restoration we were impressed by “Top Hat Terrace” London Road, built in 1864 for Leicester’s famous detective Francis ‘Tanky’ Smith and restored by the current owners Messrs. Crane & Walton (Nos. 113 – 117) and the Michael Hill Partnership (No. 119)

We were also impressed by No.48 West Street, constructed by C. W. Herbert & Son also in 1864, and the home from 1870 to 1880 of John Biggs. This fine house had been allowed to suffer disastrous mutilation in the 1970’s but has been meticulously restored as six self-contained apartments by the present owner Mr. P. Singh.

Both of these entries win commendations for restoration. However there can only be one winner.

The 2011 Award for Restoration goes the YMCA Leicester, built for the YMCA by Albert Sawday in 1899. The current works are largely on the interior of the building where the panel found a commitment to restore a working building to its original use with the minimum of compromise to its historic internal features, together with the careful restoration of those features to the highest standard by the YMCA and Leicester architect James Badley of rg+P Architects of New Walk.

Community Award Category

The Society’s Community Award was made without the slightest hesitation to Aylestone Meadows Appreciation Society. As a local community group AMAS was established to protect and promote the natural heritage of Aylestone Meadows Nature Reserve and surrounding areas of green space for the benefit of wildlife and appropriate use by the people of Leicester.

AMAS conducted a highly professional and successful campaign to oppose obliteration of the nature reserve by the imposition of two all-weather, floodlit football pitches. We found the actions of AMAS in opposing these proposals over a sustained and difficult period of twenty months duration to be immensely commendable.

2011 Civic Society Awards