Letter from Nantwich  

November 2020            

Historic building in need of urgent repair

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of the gable end of 45 High Street is all that can be seen through the scaffolding and above the hoarding.

 

 

WHEN scaffolding appeared on the front of an historic building in the town's High Street I assumed that a team of experts were about to repaint the old timbers to preserve them for many years to come.

   But it turned out to be more serious that than. I later learned that the front wall of the building had separated from the rest of the single bay, three-storey and six-room piece of Nantwich history.

   After there being just scaffolding for several weeks, a hoarding was added. When I saw a young man painting it I asked what was happening to the building. He told me it wasn't in danger but there was a problem with the front aspect. The scaffolding wasn't to stop the front wall from falling down.

The building in 1961 when it was a chemists

Picture: Nantwich Museum

 

    I understand that the project will take around 16 weeks to complete. The aim is to use as much of the original French oak as possible. 

   If that sounds a long time for one task, I have heard that the building needs other work being done on it. I've contacted Quadriga Contracts Ltd 

and Bridgford's estate agents for details. Watch this space.

 

AS its name indicates, High Street is a very busy thoroughfare with many people walking along it every day - even in U.K. lockdowns for the coronavirus pandemic.

   Actually, passers-by were obviously quite safe to pass by as proved by the seat-cum-planter that was left immediately in front of the hoarding.

   When I was in the street there was a couple of people using the seat, oblivious to the situation behind them.

   The building was empty but a few weeks earlier it was where Bridgford's estate agents were in business. I was told that the local staff had moved to the Crewe office.

   Then I did what I always do when something about old Nantwich comes to my notice. I contacted historian and Museum volunteer, Andrew Lamberton, to ask what he knew about the building. 

   He told me: "The property has been an estate agents for some time - 30 years or more, I would say, off the top of my head.

   "It is sad to see it in this state and I hope that it can be restored soon."

 

I ASKED him if the magpie (black-and-white) building had been one of those that had escaped the Great Fire of Nantwich in 1583, but he said: "It did not survive the great fire because virtually the whole of High Street was completely destroyed.

   "However, if you look at information about listed buildings, it says it is early 17th Century.

   "I'm not sure about that because it would have been built in 1584 immediately after the fire like its neighbour.

   "I can't see the plot standing empty for, say, 50 years.

   "It's a prime trading position in the middle of the most important street in the town.

   "I think the reason for giving a later date is the internal diagonal cross braces which were a feature of 17th Century buildings."

 

 

The building society's premises in better days - before the front elevation problem.

Picture by Andrew Lamberton

 

 

 

 

The restoration work is in the hands of Quadriga Contracts Ltd, a special restoration contracting business whose head office is in Rudheath, near Northwich, Cheshire.

   Art work on the hoarding (left) shows that as well as at 45 High Street, the firm has ongoing projects in Bridge Street, Chester; St Werburgh's Street, Chester; and at the Roundhouse in Derby - one of the earliest railway roundhouses.

   To see more projects visit https://www.guadrigaltd.com

Above: a trio of magpie buildings with The Falcon inn (brick building), which is now a ladies' fashion shop.   Picture: Nantwich Museum          

Left: A similar view with the project being carried out

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