Work to bring new life to Stockton’s heritage buildings is progressing well as first stage works have reached hand-over at 42 High Street with the completion of the basement complex for staff use.
42 High Street, which dates back to pre-1850, is receiving approximately £430,000 of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Stockton Council to renovate the building and bring vacant floor-space back into use.
The building, which is currently used as a travel agent, and looks to be of modest size when viewed from the High Street, has played host to nearly 200 years of Stockton’s history and houses a large warehouse across an internal courtyard which opens onto Green Dragon Yard.
The building has been home to a bookseller, printer, stationer, ironmonger, watchmakers, boot and shoe maker and, until 1985, had been a wine merchants for nearly 100 years.
The works have unearthed a range of fascinating artefacts bringing to life the trading history of Stockton. Local man, Mr James Beadle, is the proud owner to a fine collection of vintage Hodgson & Downs ceramic and glass bottles, wooden spirit boxes and wicker bottle carriers.
The contractor has uncovered further artefacts as works have progressed, including genuine bottle labels from the 1800s and remnants of various layers of wallpaper from throughout the ages.
Stockton’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor Mike Smith, said: “42 High Street is an important part of Stockton Town Centre’s heritage that contributes to the look and feel of the Town Centre and Green Dragon Yard.
“The refurbishment of this heritage building will help to create an attractive front onto the High Street as well as revamp a large area of the Green Dragon Yard complex.
“Importantly, it will also deliver five high quality affordable flats for immediate residential occupation, supporting the Council’s efforts to bring more housing to the town centre and increase activity and vitality in the area.
“It is well documented that attractive buildings and shops encourages confidence in the town and the number of people coming and visit. Local housing supports the vibrancy of the town and offers residents different types of housing to rent or buy.”
The funding has been made available as part of a programme to refurbish under-used or empty historic buildings in Stockton Town Centre with the intention of ensuring the High Street is an attractive place for businesses, shoppers, residents and visitors.
The programme aims to conserve and refurbish heritage buildings for future generations in a good state of repair - fit for modern use whilst retaining the town’s heritage and architectural splendour.
The programme is also helping to train apprentices and others in a range of conservation skills and to raise the profile and understanding of heritage and associated traditional skills.
Work at 42 High Street is continuing with the refurbishment of the upper floors to residential use. The Green Dragon Yard areas and shop front will also be improved.
Councillor Smith said: “By providing the investment and funding to bring these terrific old properties back to life and in line with modern expectations for residential and commercial uses, we are guaranteeing their future as well as helping to secure a vibrant future for Stockton High Street and Town Centre.”
Mr Manjinder Jagpal of Ingleby Barwick Land and Property Developments Ltd, and owner of 42 High Street, said: “We are hugely grateful for the funding which has allowed us to complete essential works on this heritage building.
“Before we were able to complete the refurbishment, the age of the building and its layout was beginning to become unsuitable for use as a modern office. We didn’t have any spare space for the travel agent’s staff to use and in the cold winter months, they even had to go outside to climb a set of external stairs to visit toilet facilities!
“There are so many great buildings on the High Street and lots of potential for new uses, such as the refurbishment of the basements for staff use whilst creating residential and other uses on the upper floors.
“I would encourage anyone who owns a historic building in Stockton Town Centre to seek advice on the potential for funding and help to make sure the High Street looks its best for the benefit of everyone.”
Works to convert the upper floors and warehouse space are likely to be completed in the autumn and will be available for immediate rent. For any enquiries, please telephone (01642) 677752 or e-mail [email protected]
If you have a historic building in Stockton Town Centre, it may be eligible for grant funding to help repair and bring any vacant space back into use. Please contact the THI (Townscape Heritage Initiative) Officer on (01642) 526991 or e-mail [email protected]
The regeneration of heritage buildings is part of the Rediscover Stockton Heritage programme involving private and public sector investment to regenerate the High Street as well as work to improve shopping in Stockton and secure world-class events.