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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans for an outstanding Borough

Grants for Heritage Buildings

The Council’s ‘Grants for Heritage Buildings’ programme has awarded £3million grant funding since 2008 to projects improving the condition, use, specialist knowledge and understanding of historic buildings and spaces within Stockton Town Centre Conservation Area. 

A new phase of the grant programme is now being worked up. Once detailed proposals have been agreed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, eligible projects may apply for grant funding from early 2019 until 2022, whilst funding is available.


View a visual summary of grant funded projects.

Since 2008, funding from Stockton Borough Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and property owners has helped grantees to achieve the following by restoring and safeguarding the traditional character and amenity of Stockton Town Centre Conservation Area:

  • Safeguard 12 historic buildings and bring previously vacant space back into productive use
  • Replace and reconfigure Dovecot Street's public realm (paving and highway) using traditional materials and improving accessibility
  • Deliver over 100 training placements in traditional heritage construction skills, with a further 19 people gaining NVQ's and other accredited qualifications in heritage construction skills   
  • Engage over 500 people in community heritage projects, productions and interpretation
  • Host free, open heritage events in and around Stockton Town Centre, with hundreds of people learning more about Stockton's historic built environment and wider heritage.

Enhancing and making full use of Stockton's heritage is a key theme in the town's transformation.  For more information about the buildings' past uses, occupiers and other stories of interest, visit Stories from the High Street. 


Grant funded projects

Projects funded by the latest phase of Grants for Heritage Buildings (active from 2011 to 2017) have included the following:

25 High Street
25 High Street, a Grade II listed building, was originally built in the 18th century.  In 2016 the social enterprise Asian Business Connexions secured £156,400 grant funding towards works to restore the building and convert derelict upper storeys into a new ‘SME Centre of Excellence’, business and training facility for the Tees Valley.  The grantee hopes to open the facility to the public during 2017. 

Works started on site in mid-2016 and completed in March 2017, during which time experienced contractors:

  • replaced damaged and missing roof tiles, using like-for-like materials
  • renovated upper floor timber sash windows, replacing modern casements on the top floor with timber sash windows akin to original designs
  • carefully repointed brickwork with a traditional lime mortar mix
  • renovated mechanical and electrical services
  • restored derelict upper floors, conserving traditional fireplaces, lath and plaster ceilings, historic range and butler sink on the third floor.


39A H
igh Street
39A High Street is a former warehouse, notably serving as the production facility for Stockton’s famous Nebo Creams from 1920 - 1972.  Latterly, the building had been used as a hotel, but fell into disrepair and disuse.

A grant of £414,000 was awarded in 2016 to part-fund renovation of the vacant property, to serve as part of an expanded arts and music venue for the Georgian Theatre.  Works completed in March 2017, with the reopening of the expanded Georgian Theatre.

Renovation works have helped to safeguard the future of the premises and that of its neighbour, also a Grade II listed building.  Works have revealed previously ‘hidden’ timber beams and a cellar.  As with many other conservation projects, approved designs have been revisited on a number of occasions to accommodate findings and conserve the building’s historic features, whilst ensuring structural integrity and achieving good quality design.  In summary, the works included:

  • removal of cement render to the rear (north face) of the property, which had been causing the building to ‘sweat’ and decay.  A new lime render has since been applied to allow the building to breathe as per good conservation practice
  • repair of missing or damaged roof tiles, and repointing of damaged mortar with traditional lime mortar
  • conversion of the ground and first floors to provide bar and event space linked to the Georgian Theatre
  • a new glass atrium and staircase to link the two buildings together (this part of the work was not eligible for grant, and was funded in full by the grantee).



17 Dovecot Street
This charming building, with its striking, ornate façade, is now home to the independent florists ‘Open All Flowers’.  Prior to the grant funded improvements, the premises was vacant and suffered from water ingress and derelict upper floors: it even lacked a staircase to gain access to the first floor!

With grant support of £71,000 and private funding, the owner was able to employ experienced architects and contractors to renovate the vacant first floor space and form a self-contained residential flat, complete with its own staircase.  The ground floor layout was redesigned to make better use of available space.  Grant funded works included conservation-led repairs to the roof and façade, replacement of windows with traditional sash timber units and the installation of a traditional shop front, all in keeping with the character and amenity of Stockton Town Centre Conservation Area.

Both units were let on completion of the grant funded works in early 2015.  The ground floor immediately became home to the new independent florists, ‘Open All  Flowers’, and the upper floor to a new domestic tenant; a new retail and residential use being added to the list of people who have traded and resided at the former ‘T.H Bradley’ Butcher’s shop.



Stockton Heritage Fayre, 22 October 2016
Stockton’s first ever Heritage Fayre was held in October 2016 to celebrate the many grant funded projects and to provide an insight into the maintenance and upkeep of historic, traditionally constructed homes.  A mix of specialist demonstrations, groups, activities and advisors engaged with visitors to the event, and actors performed extracts from the grant funded play ‘For Want of a Bob’.

See the full Heritage Fayre Programme from October 2016.



‘Stories from the High Street’
‘Stories from the High Street’, a free guided research and learning project, launched in February 2016 with free drop-in weekly workshops at Stockton Central Library.  It culminated with a local history event on 11 May, launched by regional celebrity John Grundy, showcasing the stories researched by members of the public.  Throughout the three month pilot project, participants were assisted by an experienced project facilitator and staff from Stockton Libraries and Museums teams.  Individuals discovered all sorts of facts and rumours from the town’s history, developing or learning research skills and a knowledge of the various resources and reference material available from across the region, from Stockton Library to Durham Records Office, Teesside Archives and more. 

Visit Stockton Reference Library on the Heritage Stockton website for stories completed by project participants.


View more images from Project Celebration.


35-37 High Street 
This project saw the conversion and development of the grand, imposing but vacant premises at 35-37 High Street. Formerly 'Carter's' and then 'Blackett's' department store, the building reopened in 2015 as the town's 'Enterprise Arcade' for small and start-up retailers. A £247,000 grant helped to fund works including the design and installation of a stylish new shopfront and improved layout of the ground floor retail space, all in keeping with the building’s rich heritage. Works also included essential replacement of obsolete mechanical and electrical installations.

Since the late 1800s, the existing premises had spent most of its life as a drapers and department store, with a brief spell as a house furnishers, health and beauty store, and even for a short time, as a Job Centre.  Latterly the property's ground floor was operated by a charity bookshop before this space also fell empty.



134 High Street 
This 19th century former Town House was renovated with grant funding to form a modern, open-plan unit suitable for a variety of high street uses.  A £130,000 grant contributed to  the cost of repair and renewal of traditional sash timber windows, re-roofing and replacement of rainwater goods in traditional materials, essential re-pointing of brickwork, replacement of defective render, and the installation of a traditional style shop-front. The premises, vacant for many years before grant works completed in 2014, has since been leased and operated by a national high street retailer.



42 High Street
Structural repair and renovation of this premise’s vacant basement, upper floors and derelict rear warehouse, were completed in 2013 with the support of £365,000 grant funding towards total costs.  The project has created five new residential units in Stockton Town Centre and relocated the office and staff accommodation of the pre-existing retailer to the basement, releasing upper floors for living accommodation as well as saving staff a chilly trip up the external staircase to the WC facilities! The project has brought a welcome use to this 19th century former wine merchants.



The Georgian Theatre 
External stone and brickwork repairs to improve the stability and appearance of this former tithe barn were carried out in 2012. Grant funded works included repair of original stonework believed to have been reclaimed from Stockton's former castle, and the replacement of timber rainwater goods with cast iron guttering.   



Dovecot Street public realm improvements 
As part of the wider regeneration of the Town Centre's public realm, the HLF and Council grant funding enabled works to take place on Dovecot Street. The grant funded replacement of inappropriate modern-style paving slabs on Dovecot Street with traditional, durable materials in keeping with the character and amenity of the Conservation Area. 


The Buildings of Stockton-on-Tees
Volunteers helped Tees Archaeology to document of over 400 buildings within Stockton Town Centre over a five-year period.  Volunteers learnt about various aspects of historic buildings including architectural styles, natural building materials, statutory designations, building significance and setting.  They were also able to improve their photography and reporting skills, sketching techniques, reading and interpretation of historic maps.

The project created an accurate record of the town’s properties which then informed the production of a heritage booklet, ‘The Buildings of Stockton-on-Tees’ which captures the rich architecture of Stockton-on-Tees.

Heritage & Enterprise
‘Take Stock ‘N Swing’ was an extravaganza created, delivered and presented by a group of young people inspired by the THI concepts of Heritage and Enterprise.  Recognising the resurgence of past eras in contemporary popular culture the event, held at ARC in Stockton Town Centre, was a great success and brought together the best of vintage styles in fashion, retail, dance and music.

Who do Youth think you are?!
Members of the Children’s Area Youth Board created a ‘graffiti-style’ wall mural depicting famous Stockton people and events discovered in their research.  To this day, the mural retains pride of place in the town’s Connexions centre for young people on Bishopton Lane.

Specialist training in heritage construction skills
Local college students and professionals from construction, heritage and associated sectors secured accredited qualifications in heritage construction skills.  In addition, professionals and non-professionals attended a series of local practical training days and lectures in traditional construction skills.

Nationally there is a shortage of people suitably qualified in this sector, with the inappropriate use of modern material and techniques too often damaging the finite historic built environment.  Locally qualified individuals are therefore helping to reduce the existing skills gap and safeguard the future our heritage.

Heritage awareness
Even more college students from a range of disciplines have engaged with the grant programme, learning about the needs and opportunities of local heritage and creating various products inspired by their findings. 

Regional broadcaster John Grundy chaired a ‘Day School’ on The History and Buildings of Stockton-on-Tees. Coordinated and delivered by Tees Archaeology, the event hosted specialist speakers on a range of local subjects.

The life of Dr M’Gonigle, Stockton’s first Public Health Officer and forefather of the modern National Health Service, was celebrated at the town’s Georgian Theatre in the world premiere of a brand new play. ‘For Want of a Bob’ told the story of Dr M’Gonigle ‘The housewives champion’ and how he fought the authorities to publish his then politically controversial research findings, findings that led to the creation of the NHS. The play re-enacted significant local, national and world events that took place during his time in Stockton, delivering a spell-binding and insightful commentary on the man, our heritage, and how they both continue to impact on us today.

View the Heritage project booklet for further information regarding the restoration of heritage buildings.

The existing grant programme is now closed.

Also see:

Please e-mail [email protected] for further details.