WORK is underway to restore Stratford’s historic Old Toll House.
Stratford Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT), the charity behind the project, has raised the £440,000 required to carry out the restoration of the 200 year-old building on Clopton Bridge.
The restoration project will preserve the historic fabric of the Grade I-listed building and provide it with a new use as office space at ground floor and mezzanine level.
The project will also include the creation of a free community exhibition about the history of the building in the basement area, together the wider industrial heritage of Stratford located along the River Avon and around the canal basin.
The Old Toll House was built in 1814 but over the last 30 years it has fallen into serious disrepair and has been included on Historic England’s Register of Buildings at Risk.
One of the most challenging elements of the project, being carried out by building contractors Stone-Edge, will be repairing the external stonework of the building, the most badly degraded areas of which are those facing onto the A3400 road on Clopton Bridge which have suffered the brunt of fumes and spray from passing traffic over many decades.
In order to inspect and specify the extent of repairs, Stone-Edge will have to undertake a partial closure of the road using temporary traffic lights for three nights, between 8pm and 4am, during the week starting Monday October 31. Further partial night time road closures will be needed the following May to carry out the actual repairs to the stonework.
SHBT’s chairman Kevin Bond said: “We are delighted to be able to finally start work on restoring this important Stratford landmark.
“Whilst most of the works will be done from within Cox’s Yard, unfortunately the only way to safely access the side of the Toll House fronting onto the bridge will be to close one lane of the road for several nights.”
Historic England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund, The Pilgrim Trust and a number of other trusts and charities have awarded grants to the project.
SHBT will be running a number of pre-booked guided ‘hard hat’ tours for the public during the course of the building works. The dates for these will be announced shortly.
The restoration is set to take eight months with work expected to be completed by next June.