Woodhead Heritage, were selected by Newark and Sherwood District Council to undertake the £3.5million HLF funded project to transform the historic Grade II Listed Old Magnus Buildings into the UK’s first National Civil War Centre. The buildings lie within the historic core of Newark on the street of Appleton Gate, surrounded predominately by other commercial and residential properties, a high proportion of which are listed. Works included:
- The provision of a new multi storey new build extension to provide a new entrance lobby ticketing, retail, WC and café and catering facilities for visitors.
- Extensive timber and brickwork conservation to roofs and floors, including complex conservation to the Tudor roof.
- Creation of auditorium area for Civil War films.
- Road closure notices and utility diversions.
- Major repairs and structural interventions, formation of accessible entrances, replacement and renewal of Mechanical and Electrical Services including a lift.
- Redecoration, refurbishment of all areas and re-landscaping the external courtyard areas to provide spaces for events, functions and exhibitions.
- Sensitive demolition of old entrance lobby.
- Working closely with fit out and interpretation contractors.
- Protecting ancient graffiti during the works required specialist intervention from conservators who protected the historic graffiti with Japanese paper to prevent damage during plastering.
- Asbestos removal, redecoration including matching of historical paint schemes, refurbishment of all areas and re-landscaping the external courtyard areas to provide spaces for events, functions and exhibitions.
The complex site sits within the town centre Conservation Area. Regular management meetings were held with the theatre and local businesses surrounding the site. .
- Discovering dry rot and blue asbestos was a risk to programme however works were phased for different areas of the site to enable specialist contractors to safely remove the asbestos.
- Due to the surrounding buildings the method of piling has been reviewed by the team and vibration monitoring was used due to the close proximity of other buildings. Involving the supply chain in the problem solving process brought their valuable experience to the team.
- Protecting 17th & 18th century graffiti during the works required specialist intervention from conservators, who protected the historic surfaces with Japanese paper to prevent damage during plastering.
- Further armorial graffiti dating from the 16th century came to light during the works, which was similarly protected.
The heritage conservation aims of the project were to:
- Ensure a sustainable new use to secure the buildings’ survival for future generations
- Enable residents of and visitors to Newark to have access to, and enjoyment and understanding of the Old Magnus Buildings
- Maximise the retention of the historic fabric of the buildings
- Over the course of the project there will be opportunities created for apprentices, heritage craft events, site tours and scope for local schools and colleges to be involved in the project.
Working in the heart of Newark on Appleton Gate was a challenge that required significant planning to minimise disruption to local residents and businesses.