Timely completion of heritage initiative

A derelict former watchmaking workshop in the Ropewalks area has been fully refurbished, marking the completion of a successful regeneration programme.

The Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), the Heritage Lottery Fund’s programme for the repair and regeneration of the historic environment in towns and cities, has seen 16 restoration projects in Ropewalks completed in the last 10 years.

Grants for projects from THI have totalled £4m and this has levered in £15m of private sector investment.

The final project to be completed was the refurbishment of the Watchmakers building at the junction of Seel Street and Slater Street by Seel Street Estates.

It has been transformed from a derelict eyesore into an attractive complex of student apartments and offices.

Originally built as houses, the Watchmakers became a watchmaking workshop in the mid nineteenth century. It later became a cash register factory before lying empty and derelict for many years.

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, cabinet member for regeneration, said:

“The transformation of the Watchmakers building is a great example of how the Ropewalks area has been regenerated while retaining its heritage.

“THI has played a vital role in reviving the fortunes of this historic area through the renovation and reuse of empty buildings.

“It now has hotels, offices, bars and apartments and while the initial projects were supported by public funding developers are now investing in the area without requiring grant assistance, demonstrating its remarkable turnaround.”

Among other projects supported by THI were the Nadler Hotel, Heebee Jeebees, and the former Whitehouse pub.

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