Leicester Civic Society is delighted to launch its search for the winning buildings of 2012. 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. And as with the last three years we may also give commendations to the most worthy runners up. These are Civic Society Awards and we look to Civic Society members to take the lead in nominating entries. The deadline is Tuesday 5th February 2013. After this date the awards panel will meet to make site visits and decide upon the winners.
2012 Award Ceremomy
On Friday 5th April 2013 our guest of honour (to be announced) will present the awards 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 and cost of the three-course dinner including wine will be £27 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 and full details will be published in Leicester Citizen No.30 due out on 5th March 2013.
For 2012 there is likely to be an abundance of riches, as the restoration of many buildings long a concern of the Society are finally nearing completion. The Silver Arcade, Parr’s Bank St. Martins, 62-64 New Walk, Makers Yard Rutland Street, The Wheatsheaf Works and Stockdale House Stoneygate, all spring readily to mind. Whilst in the new build category there are excellent developments on Greyfriars and at Wheatsheaf Works.
However there can be only one winner in each category and we will need your help in making that choice. Please participate and make your awards scheme a success. But remember, nominating is not restricted to Society members. Anyone can nominate a building. 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 for the eighth successful year.
2012 Award Nominations
It was a great pleasure to once again receive nominations for, and to visit examples of both restoration and new buildings that enrich our historic built environment. These beautiful buildings are the heritage of our future.
2012 Award Nominations Gallery
2012 Restoration Award Category
The Restoration Award went to “Maker’s Yard” at 82-86 Rutland Street the grade II listed Brown & Sons warehouse and factory in the St. George’s conservation area, which dates in part from 1854 and which has been restored as a creative workspace extension to the LCB Depot by Leicester City Council, with assistance from the European Regional Development Fund. We were impressed by this important survival from the early manufacturing history of Leicester that was in a state close to ruin and yet had been carefully restored to a very high standard with the minimum of compromise to its fixtures, fittings and decoration as an industrial building in use for most of the preceding 159 years.
In the restoration category the standard was judged to be particularly high and the issue went to a vote. The panel gave a special commendation to Stockdale House, Stoneygate Road, which will be the subject of a feature in the July edition of Leicester Citizen.
2012 Awards Commendations
Stockdale House by Tim Savage
The standard was set high for the 2012 Civic Society Awards. The Winner of the Restoration category was Makers Yard in Rutland Street in the Cultural Quarter. This is a wonderful project which has brought an ailing factory building back into use and is now encouraging people like Ruth Singer to rent the studio spaces. At the Awards Ceremony we heard that its workspaces were already 70 per cent taken.
A commendation was also given to Stockdale House, a very encouraging development in Stoneygate Road. This house, which had been divided into flats, has been restored as a family home. The owners pulled back inserted walls, stripped layers of paint from sashes and doors and discovered original fireplaces hidden for years. Leaded windows, vents and numerous other little details bring out the charm of this Stockdale Harrison designed house dating from 1897.
Stockdale Harrison was a notable Leicester architect and his sons James and Shirley followed in that tradition. Between them they built many well-known buildings in Leicester including De Montfort Hall (Shirley Harrison), the former Vaughan College (Stockdale Harrison) now replaced by the present 1967 building, several villas on Upper New Walk (Stockdale Harrison) and the Abbey Pumping Station (Stockdale Harrison). Domestic architecture was undertaken with some excellent examples in Stoneygate as well as Stockdale House. There is Abingdon House in Springfield Road and several houses on Elms Road including Four Gables and No 27.
Where features had been lost in the house on Stoneygate Road, the rest of the house was updated with a black and white diamond pattern tile in the hall, a modern kitchen and roll-top baths. On the first floor is a beautifully-restored window of a most intricate design. So rigorous is the effort behind this restoration, the next-door neighbour is now asking for tips on how to restore a similar window. This combination of loving owners, an architecturally significant house, and the restoration of a family home is a wonderful example of what can be achieved and hopefully may encourage others to do the same.
Historically so many large houses in Stoneygate have been converted into flats with mixed success. As a result a lot of the significance and interest in their architecture has been hidden or lost. This thoroughly successful updating has drawn out those details but also modified the identity in a way that pays tribute to its past but uses these features to help emphasise what has changed for the better.