Recent studies and commissions

This page provides examples of recent Creative Heritage projects commissioned by clients from the:

Private sector

Manchester Gin, Watson Street, Manchester


Three Little Words, Manchester Gin distillery, bar and restaurant

Creative Heritage Consultants were appointed to provide heritage advice during the development of design proposals for the repair and conversion of six former railway arches on Watson Street into a distillery, bar and restaurant.

The arches form part of the undercroft to the Manchester Central complex, a grade 2* listed heritage asset of exceptionally high significance. Alterations included the demolition of insensitive adaptations, brickwork cleaning and repointing internally, installation of new glazing and entrance door screens, dry-lining in selected areas and new M&E services.

The heritage impact assessment report formed part of a successful planning and listed building consent application submitted by Up North Architects. Three Little Words has quickly become a hip venue, rejuvenating this part of the city.

Brownsfield Mill, Northern Quarter, Manchester


View of Brownsfield Mill in the Northern Quarter of Manchester (before residential conversion)

We were pleased to work with architects StephensonSTUDIO and developer Urban Splash, as they developed a scheme for the residential conversion on this grade 2* listed former cotton spinning mill on the Rochdale Canal near Ancoats, Manchester.

Originally built by the Leech family in around 1840, it is an excellent example of a well-preserved ‘room and power’ mill of ‘heavy-floored’ construction (using layers of thick floorboards rather than secondary joists between the floor beams). It is also significant on account of its completeness, its integral engine house, its internal mill chimney around which a spiral staircase winds, its split-level courtyard and its connection with AV Roe & Co, who built bi-planes inside the building in the early 20th century!

The building was mothballed in 2008 by Town Centre Securities PLC, who undertook extensive repair of the external fabric and internal structure. Our Heritage Impact Assessment formed part of a successful application for planning and listed building consent for conversion to generous loft-style apartments. The development is currently being marketed as Avro Lofts

Spital Buildings, Castleton, Derbyshire


View of the farm buildings and ruinous mill, known as Spital Buildings, on the edge of Castleton in the Peak District

Some projects are such a joy that they don’t feel like work! We thoroughly enjoyed researching the history of this ruined late 18th century textile mill in the Peak District of Derbyshire, and working with Peak Architects and Capstone Consulting as they developed proposals for its stabilisation as part of a residential conversion scheme.

We identified the historic significance of the listed mill and attached later farm buildings and facilitated an archaeological building recording, undertaken by Salford Archaeology. The Heritage Impact Assessment & Planning Statement we prepared was used to support a successful application to the Peak District National Planning Authority for Listed Building Consent.

Tariff Street, Piccadilly Basin, Manchester: Heritage Impact Assessment


Computer-generated image the proposed Tariff Street development, in Piccadilly Basin, Manchester, designed by Ian Simpson Architects, with the grade 2* listed Jackson’s Warehouse beyond (© Our Studio)

This study was commissioned to identify the key heritage assets that might be affected by an 11-storey residential development adjacent to the Rochdale Canal in the sensitive Piccadilly Basin regeneration area and to assist the planning authority in considering the impact of the proposals on those assets. Designed by Ian Simpson Architects, the new building is to be located within ten metres of the grade 2* listed Jackson’s Warehouse, and in the immediate vicinity of the highly designated Brownsfield Mill, Carver’s Warehouse and the ‘mill wall of Ancoats’.

The process of developing the design and the heritage impact assessment was an iterative one, with Creative Heritage participating fully in design discussions from an early stage, enabling a greater understanding of the heritage significance of the area to influence positively the scheme development.

The final report, which was submitted as a supporting document to the planning application, considered the significance and townscape qualities of the key assets using desk based research and analysis on site, and explored the effect of the development as it may appear in key ‘heritage views’, using computer generated architectural modelling. Planning consent was secured in September 2014.

Voluntary sector

Tyldesley High Street Heritage Action Zone


One of the priority projects on Elliott Street, where works are now on site.
The shop to the left of the former Chippy will become the HAZ office

Creative Heritage is providing project management services to For Tyldesley Community Interest Company, to support volunteer Directors and the wider community in the delivery of a High Street Heritage Action Zone. £1.5m has been awarded by Historic England, to provide a grant pot for repairs to historic buildings on the main street of this former mining town, to the east of Manchester.  Our role is to enable property owners to access grants for the repair of historic fabric and reinstatement of architectural features, such as traditional shop fronts.

We are bringing our extensive knowledge of Townscape Heritage projects to develop and implement grant administration and governance processes, and our experience of delivery of heritage skills training and community engagement projects. Kate Mitchell is our project manager on the ground until the end of the project in March 2024. For more information about property grants, contact

A Tyldesley Town Design Guide has been developed, which responds to comments about the high street put forward through an extensive community consultation. It provides advice on shopfront design, including a vibrant Tyldesley paint palette. To view or download the Town Design Guide, click here. The appendices are in a separate volume, here.

Viability Study for Tooleys Boatyard, Banbury


Tooleys Boatyard- the Dry Dock ©ATA

The dry dock at Tooley’s Boatyard on the Oxford Canal has been in use since the 1780s.  Now the scheduled monument, part of a working boatyard, is a hidden gem, surrounded by modern retail that turns its back on the canal. The partners in Banbury are transforming the town, with new leisure developments and an enthusiasm to make the canal a focus for a regenerated town centre.

A Trust has been formed to enable Tooley’s to increase the welcome it gives to visitors whilst supporting its on-going commercial activity.  Andrew Townsend Architects have been engaged to lead a viability study funded by the Architectural Heritage Fund, and Creative Heritage has consulted with audiences about how the site can be interpreted and the role it can play in wider regeneration, alongside exploring the market demand for the visitor attraction.  An outline interpretation plan is being developed by Exhibition Plus.

Property and Asset Income Generation Strategy


The Lyceum, built as a school and now a social club and halls for education and events

Port Sunlight was founded in 1888 by the industrialist William Lever and is arguably one of the finest surviving examples of an industrial worker village in the UK. Lever wanted to provide the employees of his new Lever Brothers soap works with decent and affordable housing and a wide range of facilities to ensure the well-being and advancement of the workers and their families.

The legacy of a large number of non-residential community buildings in a village of around 2000 people presents a challenge for Port Sunlight Village Trust. Creative Heritage is pleased to be working with Sara Hilton Associates and Keppie Massie Ltd to develop a strategy for these assets to enable them to contribute to the vision to make Port Sunlight ‘an inspiring place to live, work and visit’. The study is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the Trust’s ‘Brighter Future’ project.

National Lottery Heritage Fund Capacity & Resilience project


Photograph of inner quadrangle and former laundry of Ravenstone Hospital

Creative Heritage has been appointed by the Trustees of Ravenstone Hospital to provide specialist support in three areas of development as part of an initiative funded by the NLHF.

The commission, which will also involve Architects Oliver Architecture Ltd, involves undertaking a Condition Survey and Conservation Management Plan, a governance and trustee skills review and finally a Preliminary Options Study for the site, including some community engagement  and consultation that can be used to inform a future heritage masterplan activity strategy.

The Old Grammar School, Richmond, North Yorkshire


The Old Grammar School, Richmond, from the Batts, which is to be restored by the Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust and converted to a community hub

Creative Heritage has been appointed as project managers for this exciting scheme to create a vibrant community hub. Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust has been awarded a ‘round one pass’ from the Heritage Lottery Fund, under the Heritage Enterprise programme, with development funding.

This is matched by a grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund to help progress plans towards making a round two application in Spring 2019. Richmondshire District Council and North Yorkshire County Council are also supporting the project.
The project aims to protect and conserve and repair Richmond’s 19th century former Grammar School, a grade 2 listed building which has been unused since 2011, and convert it to economically viable new uses around an arts and education theme.

A multi-use community hall and function room in the main hall and former art room, on the upper floor of the building, will be supported by commercial enterprises on the lower ground floor, overlooking the River Swale and spilling out onto the Batts. Income-generating uses under consideration include a small independent hostel, offices for community organisations, a second-hand bookshop and café.

Coffin Fitting Works Project Management


An extraordinary survivor on the fringe of the Jewellery Quarter, Newman Brothers’ Coffin Fitting Works was acquired by Birmingham Conservation Trust in 2010, eleven years after the workers closed the door for the last time, leaving behind them the machinery, stock and administrative records of the company stretching back over one hundred years.

Most of the moveable contents were taken into storage to facilitate a full restoration of the buildings, which was completed in August 2014, thanks to grant funding totalling over £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, Birmingham City Council and a large number of charitable trusts. Kate Dickson provided project management services for the capital works phase, including design team management, coordination of community engagement activities during the build contract, budget control, change management, risk assessment and liaison with funders.

Funds were drawn down in monthly and quarterly claims and cash flow was maintained thanks to a Birmingham City Council interest-free working capital loan.

The Coffin Works is a visitor attraction (see and provides lettable studio space for several creative businesses as well as office accommodation for Birmingham Conservation Trust. In its first year of opening, it has consistently been voted the Number 1 museum in Birmingham on Trip Advisor.

The project won RICS West Midlands 2015 Awards for Conservation and for Tourism & Leisure.

Public sector

Richmond Market Hall

Client: Richmond Town Council

Interior view of Richmond Market Hall, North Yorkshire

Creative Heritage is providing project management services to help with the redevelopment of Richmond’s historic Market Hall. The Market Hall is a prominent building situated on the cobbled Market Place in the centre of this North Yorkshire town and has served as a community focal point since the mid 19th century. The Market Hall is a designated grade two listed building, and is therefore considered a building of architectural and historic interest, containing both Georgian and Victorian architecture. Funding for a Project Viability Study has been granted by the Architectural Heritage Fund, alongside additional funding being provided by Richmond Town Council. Burns Collett Consultants and Creative Heritage are hoping to make the Market Hall more financially viable by increasing footfall and the number of purchases being made by the public, through optimising use of the floor space and addressing issues such as lingering food smells. The aim is to create a thriving community-driven indoor market.

We are combining our extensive project organisational skills with our passion for making historic buildings work for communities. Our main ambition for Richmond is to turn the current Market Hall into an asset, for both tourists and locals to enjoy.

Buxton Crescent Heritage Skills programme


Buxton & Leek College students on the Buxton Crescent construction site during a Heritage Skills taster day

We were delighted to deliver a number of heritage skills taster days at this very significant building conservation and regeneration project, to enable local people to gain an insight into the specialist skills being deployed.

Developed in conjunction with the main contractor, Vinci, the skills sessions for local building tradesmen, construction college students and Buxton homeowners, involved tours of the construction site to meet the specialist subcontractors engaged on the project. They offered a chance to handle traditional building materials and ask questions about the techniques being used to conserve this important grade 1 listed building.

The £52m project was being funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, D2N2, High Peak Borough Council, Derbyshire County Council and the private sector developer, Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa Ltd. A short video of the first skills day for local building tradesmen was created by local media expert, Andy Parker, and provides an evaluation of this thoroughly enjoyable day.

Buxton Crescent Heritage Trades Project – YouTube

Mansfield Townscape Heritage


Image of Leeming Street in 1979, courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Council and

Following our success in developing proposals for the Carrington Street Area Townscape Heritage project in Nottingham, we were delighted to be appointed to assist Mansfield District Council in the preparation of a round 2 Heritage Lottery Fund application for a Townscape Heritage scheme for Leeming Street and part of the Market Place and Stockwell Gate in Mansfield town centre.

Largely developed at the turn of the 20th century, Leeming Street has a strong Edwardian architectural quality, with a range of independent shops. If the bid is successful, grants will be made available to property owners for the repair and conservation of quirky ‘vintage’ shopfronts from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, as well as for Edwardian originals.

New traditional-style shopfronts and upper floor windows may be reinstated where historic ones have been lost. We are consulting widely with the general public, heritage organisations, educational establishments and community groups on the development of an ‘activity statement’ to capture proposals for a programme of activities and events that will enable local people to engage with the heritage.

Ilkeston Town Hall: Community Engagement Activities


Creative Heritage worked alongside Erewash Council and partners to deliver a highly enjoyable programme of learning and participation activities to complement the restoration of Ilkeston Town Hall. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project included conservation construction skills training for local contractors, a history talk researched and delivered by the local U3A history group and a toolkit for schools’ visits.

A public vote to select a heritage image to appear on the scaffolding during the works, and a free publication about the building and people associated with it were particularly successful.

Carrington Street Townscape Heritage project


Kate Dickson was pleased to support Council officers during the development phase of a project to establish a Townscape Heritage programme for Carrington Street in Nottingham city centre. Building on a successful round 1 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Creative Heritage team undertook condition surveys, costings and valuation exercises to determine a ‘detailed scheme plan’ for potential third party projects.

Advice was given on the development of an Activity Plan for the scheme, and assistance in preparation of a Conservation area Management & Maintenance Plan, project programme, cashflow forecast and all other supporting documentation for a successful round 2 HLF bid, submitted in August 2015. At the start of the delivery phase, Kate was engaged as ‘interim project manager’ to kickstart the project.

Mentoring, monitoring and expert advice


Heritage grants:

  • Ingestre Orangery, Staffordshire: mentoring the development of round 2 application to convert and extend Victorian orangery to create a community hub
  • St John’s, Hyde Park, London: ‘Save Betty’ organ restoration project (mentor then monitor)
  • Northampton Students Union: Engine Shed project (mentor with interpretation focus)
  • Loughborough Generator (mentor for development phase; round 2 bid not submitted)

Our Heritage:

  • Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust: mentor for project to undertake an assessment of Historic Buildings at Risk in Derbyshire, with a view to finding new projects and ways of working, to invigorate a long-established, but latterly inactive, Building Preservation Trust

Grants for Places of Worship:

  • St Margaret’s, Somersby, Lincolnshire (mentor)
  • St Mary Magdalene, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire (mentor)
  • St Peter’s Raunds, Northamptonshire

Townscape Heritage:

  • Swadincote, Derbyshire (mentor)
  • Wakefield, Yorkshire (expert advice)