CCT awarded £110,153 by Architectural Heritage Fund for Old Black Lion pub in Northampton
The conservation and regeneration of the Old Black Lion pub in Northampton took another step forward this week when the Architectural Heritage Fund awarded the Churches Conservation Trust £110,153 towards building work. The grant will go towards the total capital investment of more than £2m, due to the dilapidation of the property and the costs of repair to a high standard, as well as the need for significant investment to improve the quality of the pub offer.
The pub was run down and mostly focused on beverage sales when it closed in 2018. With the new funding, it will be transformed to a restored historic coaching inn, with characterful bar spaces for eating and drinking, and a new dining room overlooking the courtyard beer garden.
The historic carriage passage from Marefair into the Old Black Lion’s courtyard will be reinstated and the pub – which dates to at least the 16th century – repaired to the highest conservation standards. A new path and gate will connect the pub’s courtyard entrance on St Peter’s Street to St Peter’s churchyard next door.
As well as the Architectural Heritage Fund, the project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, West Northamptonshire Council, and HM Treasury via the Towns Fund.
The pub is owned by West Northamptonshire Council who will lease it to the Churches Conservation Trust. The Trust is currently in the process of selecting a hospitality operator to run the pub, with a portion of the profits going to repairing and conserving the neighbouring 12th-century St Peter’s Church, which the Trust has cared for since 1998.
Peter Aiers Chief Executive at the Churches Conservation Trust, said:
“This fantastic grant from The Architectural Heritage Fund brings us a step closer to our goal of transforming the Old Black Lion into a revitalised and conserved historic coaching inn. The pub will serve the community but at the same time will help secure the future of one of the finest Norman church buildings in England, St Peter’s. Due to the poor condition of the property, this grant will help overcome the high repair costs which this Grade II listed pub faces.“
Gavin Richards, Programme Manager for Transforming Places through Heritage, of the Architectural Heritage Fund said:
“We are delighted to be supporting the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) to breathe new life into this important building, which will once again become an asset for Northampton town centre. CCT’s model of partnering these two buildings is both exciting and innovative and one which we hope can be replicated across other high streets and town centres.”
CCT is also working in partnership with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers to create a new national training centre for church bellringing, based at the Old Black Lion and St Peter’s.
The site forms part of the Heritage Gateway initiative, which seeks to improve the approach to the town from the railway station.
Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/OldBlackLionProject or join the Friends of St Peter’s Church to support the care of the church building and churchyard.