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Donald Insall scoops Blackpool Winter Garden jackpot

Blackpool Council has selected Donald Insall Associates to begin the restoration of the iconic, Grade II-listed Winter Gardens building

The four-month project, which is expected to cost around £5 million and finish in February next year, will start with repairs to the Floral Hall followed by the revamp of the entrance on Church Street and Coronation Street.

Earlier this year, Blackpool Council bought the Winter Gardens, along with Blackpool Tower, Louis Tussauds and the Golden Mile Centre, bringing it all into public ownership for the first time in its history.

Donald Insall Associates principal in Chester, Tony Barton, said: ‘Although we have worked on some of the country’s most important historic buildings, nothing prepares you for the splendour of the Winter Gardens.  We can’t wait to help Blackpool bring it back to life.’

The building, which first opened in 1878, is set to re-open its doors to the public in February next year (2011).

Postscript

Donald Insall Associates has also been appointed as architect and lead consultant for the conservation of the interior of the medieval Westminster Hall - the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate.

It is the first major programme of conservation to the building, which was the venue for the trials of William Wallace (1305), Thomas More (1535), Guy Fawkes (1606) and King Charles I (1649), for nearly 90 years.

The work on the hall, which was built originally as an aisled hall in the 11th century before it was transformed at the end of the 14th century, will include internal stone cleaning, stone repair, conservation of the medieval statuary, carpentry and joinery repairs to the lantern. There are also plans for a new lighting scheme which ‘will reveal the magnificent roof structure’ as well as providing for television broadcasting and special events.

This commission came out of a framework agreement between the Parliamentary Estate Directorate and the practice which has also lead to another commission for the repair, conservation and restoration of encaustic tile pavements for the repair, manufactured in the 1840s by Minton of Stoke-on-Trent and a defining feature of the 19th century Palace interiors.

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