Repair work is now underway at Hesketh Park’s historic conservatory after Sefton Council’s Green Sefton team secured a £22,000 grant from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
A local contractor, overseen by a specialist conservation architect, has started work on site this week which will include assessing and repairing the overall cast iron structure, mending leaks to the roof and replacing broken windows.
The Grade II listed structure, which has stood in the park since 1878, has deteriorated in recent years years as a result of water damage. The Council has been looking at opportunities to fund short term repairs alongside long term plans to restore the entire conservatory.
Grants from the Culture Recovery Fund, administered on behalf of the government by Historic England, are designed to protect heritage sites and ensure that jobs and access to culture and heritage in local communities are protected, despite the pandemic.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing, said: “Hesketh Park is just one of our many beautiful outdoor spaces that the Green Sefton team, along with the valued help of dedicated volunteers, work hard all year round to maintain and improve.
“I’m really pleased to see that work has now begun on making essential repairs to the building, and that this signifies just the beginning of a journey to fully restore this historic conservatory.”
Longer term plans will be developed, as further funding is sourced, to restore the building and bring it back into public use.
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities. We’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it’s there for future generations to enjoy.”
Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive, said: “Historic places across the country are being supported by the government’s grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding is a lifeline which is kick-starting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of COVID-19.
“It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.”
About Hesketh Park
Hesketh Park was designed by renowned Victorian landscape gardener Edward Kemp in 1865. A decade after it first opened, a large conservatory was erected and housed an array of rare and exotic plants. It had originally been part of Brunswick Villa on Lord Street, Southport, but was purchased by Southport Corporation and moved to the park in 1878. Today, the Grade II listed Conservatory still stands in the centre of the park next to the lake.