Vital repairs to the leaking roofs of The Folk of Gloucester have finally been completed – but there’s more work to do to fix internal issues in the historic building caused by weather damage and vandalism.
The row of three Tudor buildings on Westgate Street, now owned by Gloucester Historic Buildings and leased to Gloucester Civic Trust, has been encased in scaffolding for several months to allow crucial work and repairs to its multiple roofs to be carried out. This included the roofs of the Cider House, the café and the main building.
Thankfully, the repairs to all the roofs have now been completed. The cost – about £45,000 – was mainly funded by Gloucester Historic Buildings with help from Gloucester City Council. These repairs will keep the buildings dry for a few more years.
However, the damage within the buildings, caused by the leaking and vandalised roofs, will need more funding.
Martyn White, chairman of Gloucester Civic Trust, said: “As with all old buildings the weakest point is often the roof and the Folk has been no exception. Defective repairs in the recent past and subsequent thefts of lead meant that Gloucester Historic Buildings, the buildings preservation charity which owns the Folk and leases it to the Civic Trust, has carried out extensive repairs using lead substitutes, with some help from the City Council.
“Urgent grants were not available so the charity had to spend around £25,000 on repairs but hopefully we now have dry, non-leaky buildings for a while. That money will be hard to replace without the help of our many supporters.”
At the same time as the scaffolding coming down, Gloucester Civic Trust received four significant grants to go towards core funding and repairs. The trust has received £10,000 in core funding from The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust to help recruit two part-time staff for the café and bar management and £1,000 from the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire to help buy industrial dehumidifiers to dry out the water-damaged Victorian Schoolroom and changing area.
Mark Hurrell, Trustee of the Honourable Company’s Charity Fund said: “We are delighted to contribute to the ongoing maintenance of such an iconic building and look forward to seeing the restored rooms.”
An additional £3,000 came from the Summerfield Charitable Trust to help with the cost of redecoration of the Victorian Schoolroom.
Finally, £20,000 has been donated from the Garfield Weston Foundation to help strengthen the trust’s management team and develop its Community Heritage Centre. The Foundation said when offering the grant: “This grant is offered with the very best wishes of the Weston Family, and we look forward to hearing how your important work progresses.”
Martyn White added: “There’s a huge amount to do but with the support of the Gloucester community, our volunteers and financial supporters we’re confident of a bright future.”