Several historic shop fronts in Wellingborough town centre have been restored to their former glory thanks to a £1.4 million Heritage Lottery funded scheme.
The Wellingborough Townscape Heritage Initiative was launched by Wellingborough Council in 2012 to fund restoration and preservation of traditional frontages and heritage features through a series of grants for shop owners.
Since its launch, the scheme has also funded repairs to some of the town’s historic private residences and funds are ring-fenced for key heritage buildings such as the Hind Hotel.
A total of 14 shops in Park Road, Market Street and Silver Street, including the former cinema, have already benefited from the replacement of modern fascia signs with hand painted signage, repairs to roofs and walls and the installation of windows and doors more in keeping with the buildings.
Workmen also uncovered the original ‘Dexters’ sign at a property in Park Road, which has been repainted to reflect the shop’s history.
Now in its fifth year, the scheme has also provided some significant educational benefits, including ongoing bursary support for apprentices of stonemasonry and carpentry at Moulton College, a history education programme for local schools and a series of town heritage trails.
It has now been given a further boost by the Heritage Lottery Fund, who approved an extension of the catchment area to include Oxford Street, parts of London Road and Broad Green so more shops and properties are eligible for grant funding.
Cllr Jon-Paul Carr, heritage champion and chairman of the council’s development committee, said: “This scheme is vastly improving the appearance of our historic shop fronts and facades in the town centre and achieving its aim to enhance, restore and showcase their period character.
“Some hidden treasures have been discovered during the works on Park Road and as the project continues, it’s likely we’ll see more of our town’s heritage uncovered.
“The restoration of these shops will benefit traders, customers and the entire community, as the whole area improves in appearance and our heritage is protected for future generations to explore and enjoy.”
For more information, including grant eligibility criteria, go to www.wellingborough.gov.uk/thi or call the council on 01933 231918.