Canalside Heritage Centre
This Lottery Funded Community project, renovated and restored the derelict Beeston Weir Cottages to create an arts, heritage and educational centre. A contemporary extension to the building has enabled a cafe, gift shop, interpretation space and roof terrace to be provided in this popular riverside location. The extension also houses a passenger lift allowing wheelchair access to all levels without unduly altering the existing historic cottages.
A Charitable Trust was established to carry out the works and a team of local volunteers worked alongside the main contractor throughout the build process. This both reduced construction costs and increased the volunteer’s emotional investment in the project. A mixture of paid employees and volunteer staff now manage the thriving Centre.
Since opening in 2017, the Heritage Centre has grown into a popular destination offering venue hire, classes and exhibition space showcasing local artists.
The project was not without its challenges, as the Cottages had significant local historic value and the site was surrounded by water, only accessible by footbridge. Bulk building materials were delivered by barge, but this only increased the coverage in the local press. A flood risk assessment was prepared, to ensure that the building and occupants could be adequately protected.
The existing buildings were sympathetically restored with traditional materials including lime mortar, timber sliding sash windows and a breathable floor construction. The extension however was an honestly modern and contemporary design, which kept a clear distinction between new and old. The new walls were constructed from high performance structurally insulated panels with glulam beams to create a strong curved feature roof.