A £470,000 project to restore Stratford’s historic Old Toll House was finally completed last week and has been opened by the mayor.
The building, which had been in a dilapidated state for a number of years, was saved by the Stratford Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT), a charity formed in 2012 with the aim of preserving historic buildings within the historic county of Warwickshire.
Restoration work began last year after grant funding was secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, The Architectural Heritage Fund, Stratford District Council and a range of charitable trusts.
Despite the modest size of the Toll House, it has been a large project to bring it back into use, with more than 300 new pieces of stone from two different quarries, required to repair the exterior of the Grade I listed structure.
The roof and internal floor has been replaced, whilst salvaging some of the old materials, and interesting features such as the two fireplaces and a wall safe, have been retained.
However the building has clearly been modernised internally with an elegant glass-walled staircase to the mezzanine level installed and a new toilet and outdoor bin store constructed to the side of the Toll House.
Kevin Bond, chair of the Stratford Historic Buildings Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the quality of the restoration and the refurbishment works which have transformed what was a neglected part of Stratford’s heritage.”
“The trust is now actively looking for our next project and welcomes the suggestions from members of the public as to what this might be.”
Roger Davis, from SHBT, added: “The thing I’m most proud about is that we have managed to save a building which at one point was on English Heritage’s top ten buildings at risk in the UK.
“We’ve already had quite a lot of interest in the building and we’re hoping to have a tenant move in probably in October.”
Roger added that space for an exhibition on Stratford’s industrial heritage and the history of the Toll House would open on the building’s basement floor in the near future.
For more information about the Stratford Historic Buildings Trust visit www.stratfordhbt.co.uk.