Archive of Past Projects

Since its establishment in 1977, the Trust has rescued more than 20 historic buildings right across Norfolk.

Buildings considered by the Trust were usually:
•   listed as being of special architectural or historic interest.
•   vacant and unsuccessfully marketed or with failed attempts at restoration.

Once the County Council had begun publishing its Buildings at Risk Register (from 1988), the Trust was able to work with district councils in using the register as a source for pinpointing buildings most in need of help.

Without the Trust’s intervention, several of the buildings described below would have deteriorated beyond the point of repair

34 and 36 Vicarage Steet, North Walsham

This Grade II building is the former vicarage, which had been divided in to two houses. The building is mostly 18th century with an earlier core. The site is centrally placed in North Walsham, backing on to the churchyard, and the houses are significant in the area. In 1978, when the Trust acquired the properties, they had been empty for many years and dry rot and vandalism had taken their toll. However, careful repair was undertaken and the building was converted in to four houses. The project was completed in 1980.

Before the repair works:

After the repair works:

Abbey Farmhouse, Beeston Regis

The Grade II farmhouse and the ruins of the Priory stand on the edge of the common at Beeston Regis, forming a prominent landmark in this popular holiday area. The farmhouse, which incorporates fabric of what was possibly the Prior’s House, had become derelict, but the owner was unwilling to sell.

The County Council served a Repairs Notice on the owner, followed by a Compulsory Purchase Order. After a Public Inquiry and two years of negotiation with the owner, the farmhouse was finally conveyed to the Trust by the County Council in 1983.The repairs were carried out by a builder who entered into a contract to purchase the property upon completion of the necessary works. This enabled the Trust to secure the restoration of the house without having to raise the capital to cover building costs.

Before the repair works:

After the repair works:

Beeston Regis Priory

The ruins of Beeston Regis Priory are extensive and incorporate impressive early 13th-century blind arcading in the chancel. As a scheduled ancient monument, the Priory could not be included in the Compulsory Purchase Order served on Abbey Farmhouse.

The County Council entered into separate negotiations with the owner to purchase the ruins and then sold them to the Trust with the farmhouse.The ruins are still owned by the Trust, and are in the guardianship of the County Council.Between 1986-90 the Council cleared the site of encroaching vegetation and consolidated the fabric of the ruins. The site is now open to the public throughout the year.

Before the repair works:

After the repair works:

Dial House and the Old King’s Arms, High Street, Foulsham

These Grade II listed buildings are situated next door to each other in a prominent position in the centre of Foulsham Conservation Area. In the early 1980s both buildings were empty, and Dial House was derelict. The owner of Dial House failed to respond to a Repairs Notice served by Broadland District Council and so the council compulsorily acquired the house in 1984.

The District Council also negotiated the purchase of The Old King’s Arms, next door, which included a shared yard. The Trust bought both properties from the District Council in 1985. The Old King’s Arms was converted into a three-bedroom house, and Dial House was divided into two flats.

After the repair works:

Dairy Farm Barn, Shotesham Park, Newton Flotman

Dairy Farm Barn is a 15th-century timber framed barn situated in the Shotesham Estate. It possesses a fine roof worthy of the hall of a medieval nobleman’s house and is listed Grade II*. The barn had become disused and was in need of major repair. Part of the thatched roof was missing and many of the timbers were beginning to rot when the County Council was asked by the District Council to take action.

Emergency repairs were completed in 1989. The Trust then began negotiations to purchase the barn, which was eventually bought by the Trust in September 1989. Extensive repairs, including re-thatching, took place between 1991-1993.

Before the repair works:

After the repair works:

Denver Windmill Complex

Denver Mill was built in 1835, and ceased working in 1941 after being struck by lightning. The mill is listed Grade II* and the adjacent granary is grade II. The mill complex was given to Norfolk County Council in 1971. However, the Miller’s House remained in private ownership with restrictive covenants limiting access and operation of the mill.

In 1995 the Miller’s House became available, and was purchased by the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust. The County Council sold the mill and outbuildings to the Trust at the same time, creating the opportunity to develop the whole site as an important visitor centre, to provide income for the long term maintenance and repair of the building complex. Works included repairs to the Grade II* mill; conversion of outbuildings to cafe, toilets, workshops, interpretation centre and staff accommodation; and conversion of the Miller’s House into three holiday house lets.

Before the repair works:

After the repair works:

The Miller’s House before and after the repair works:

Fakenham Gasworks

The gasworks, which is a scheduled ancient monument, produced town gas from 1825 until 1965, and is now the only remaining town gas works of its kind in England and Wales. In the 1970s the Department of the Environment decided to take on the care of the site, but dropped the idea in 1982.

The Trust stepped in and negotiated a 125-year lease with British Gas in 1983. In 1986 the Trust initiated repairs which were completed two years later. In 1989 the Gasworks were opened as a museum and operated by the Fakenham Town Gasworks Museum Trust. The Museum is open to the public on a limited basis.

Before the repair works:

After the repair works:

High House, Heacham

High House was built in 1726 and enlarged during the 19th Century. It has many interesting internal features including a fine early 18th century staircase, with carved tread ends and turned balusters. It is listed Grade II and has been used as a school and a hotel. In 1975, developers bought the house for conversion into flats, but by 1976 they had decided that it would be uneconomic and began to demolish the building and clear the site for new housing.

This was halted when the building was listed and planning permission for the new buildings was refused. The developers were forced to cease work and they put the house on the market with a very small piece of land attached. The Trust bought High House in 1983 and decided to convert the building into two units, as the curtilage of the property was considered too small to support a larger house. The restoration work was completed in 1985, and the property sold on.

Before the repair works:

After the repair works:

King’s Head Cottage, Banham

This Grade II* house dates from the second half of the 14th century and was originally an open hall house. The house retains its original smoke blackened timbers, and a rare example of carved queen posts with solid braces forming the hall truss. During the early 17th century the hall was floored over, and further alterations took place in the 19th century. By 1997 the house had become derelict.

Breckland District Council compulsorily purchased the building in 1997 and sold it on to the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust for repair. The modern breeze block in­fill was removed and replaced with traditional wattle and daub, protected by a lime plaster. Where necessary the timber frame was repaired with sections of new oak. The house was sold to a private owner in 2000, but can be visited by appointment with the owner.

Before the repair works:

After the repair works:

Little Cressingham Mill House

The Trust bought this mainly early 19th-century, Grade II listed property in 1988, along with the unusual combined wind and watermill. The latter has been leased to the Norfolk Windmills Trust. The Trust sold the house to a builder who repaired it under the supervision of the Trust’s consultant architect.

Before and after the repair works:

Nelson’s Monument, Grade I

Restoration of Nelson’s Monument, also known as the Norfolk Naval Pillar, began back on August 2nd 2004 , with work completed at the end of September 2005 in time to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust, Norfolk County Council, and Great Yarmouth Borough Council combined forces to drive forward the project, which will consolidate the Monument for future generations and bring its history to life for local people and visitors alike. Restoration costs were approximately 0.75 million pounds. Funding came mainly from The Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, as well as other small organisations and private benefactors.

The Old Chemist’s Shop, Stoke Ferry

This former shop, dated 1824, was in a state of imminent collapse in the 1980s. King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council undertook some emergency propping before the Trust acquired the Grade II building and undertook its restoration and conversion into two dwellings.

Prior to the completion of the bypass to the village several properties in the main street had lain empty for long periods of time and there was a marked reluctance from private purchasers to come forward. It was clear that action by the Trust was necessary if the building was to be saved. Repair work was completed in 1987 with the benefit of grants from the Borough Council and the two dwellings are let on long lease.

Before the repair works:

After the repair works:

The Old Post Office, Billingford Scole

This unlisted 19th century building stands in close proximity to Billingford Mill, which is owned by the Norfolk Windmills Trust.

The building was suffering from extensive damp, caused by an inappropriate hard cement render. This was removed during repairs in 1998. Internally, the walls were lime plastered; and traditional windows and railings were reinstated, based on photographs of the building taken around the beginning of the 20th century.

Before and after the repair works:

Toll Bar Cottage, Wiggenhall St. Germans

This is a Grade II early 19th-century Toll House.The building is very small and in 1988 planning permission was granted to a private owner to build a large extension at the back. However, it proved impossible for the owners to complete the scheme and the site was abandoned.

The Trust learned about the property through the Buildings at Risk Register and it was acquired in 1993. An imaginative scheme to improve the half- built extension by enclosing it in a veranda and completion of substantial repairs to the historic building was completed in 1995. The house is now in private ownership.

Before the repair works:

After the repair works: