Somerset

Bridgwater's miniature castle restored after £600k revamp

Castle House, Bridgwater Image copyright Save Britain's Heritage
Image caption The restored exterior of Castle House in Bridgwater, the building is Grade II* listed

A small Victorian castle made out of concrete in 1851 has been restored to its former splendour after a restoration effort.

Castle House in Bridgwater was built using prefabricated concrete by construction pioneer John Board.

But after being gutted by fire and left empty for years, it was declared the "most endangered historic building in the South West" by Historic England.

It was covered in scaffolding in 1999, and restoration work began in 2009.

Image copyright Ferguson Mann Architects
Image caption The building had been damaged in a fire

The Grade II* listed building was first erected as a family home and was designed to showcase the versatility and potential of concrete.

SAVE Britain's Heritage, a campaign group, set up a £6000,000 Trust to save the building, which was backed by grants from Historic England and EDF Energy.

Marcus Binney, from SAVE Britain's Heritage, said: "The roof had been destroyed by fire, and water was cascading through the interior, and the concrete ornament was crumbling."

Councillor Duncan McGinty, from Sedgemoor District Council, described it as a "real ugly duckling to swan situation".

"After many years of seeing Castle House, firstly in a dilapidated state and then swathed in scaffolding, I am thrilled to see it emerge, looking so spectacular," he said.

Image copyright Save Britain's Heritage
Image caption SAVE Britain's Heritage said the building has been covered in scaffolding for several years

John Etté, from Heritage at Risk, said it was "one of the country's most extraordinary buildings".

"Castle House has been on our Heritage at Risk Register since 2000 and would have been lost to the nation had the trust not stepped in and began the long programme of repairs to safeguard and restore this remarkable Victorian structure," he said.

In 2017, planning permission was granted to convert the house into three flats.

The Trust is now looking for a development partner to complete the interiors.

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