Sudbury Gasworks Restoration Trust are delighted to announce that they have received a £1.4m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to restore the old Victorian Gasworks and create a space for the local community.

The Trust has secured £1,377,800 for its exciting heritage project, ‘Rescuing and Restoring Sudbury Gasworks’, to re-develop the disused gasworks building in Sudbury, Derbyshire.

The Grade II listed ‘at risk’ building is attributed to George Devey, an architect known for his work on English country houses and estates.  The original purpose of the building was to manufacture gas from coal to supply Sudbury Hall (now a National Trust property) and village. The gasholder was dismantled in the 1930s, and the building now stands empty with noticeable deterioration and moderate collapse to the roof.

Made possible with money raised by National Lottery players, ‘Rescuing and Restoring Sudbury Gasworks’ focuses on preserving and refurbishing the structure and site of the 1874 Sudbury Gasworks, extending the building sympathetically on the footprint of the former gasholder and securing the long term future of the building through a range of new public uses.

Supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund and other funders including the Pilgrim Trust, The Association for Industrial Archaeology, The Historic Houses Foundation and The Derbyshire Dales CVS, the project will create a flexible, vibrant and accessible community facility.

Following building work, which is expected to start in summer 2020 and last for around twelve months, Sudbury Gasworks will be used for a variety of purposes; meeting the twin aims of providing community benefits and creating income streams to support the ongoing maintenance of the site.

A ‘drop-in heritage’ space will be created in the former retort house (where coal was heated in retorts to produce gas), to allow people to find out more about the building and the locality, while a new-build circular main hall will be constructed on the footprint of the demolished gasholder, accommodating up to 100 people for a range of events, including as a wedding venue.

Throughout the restoration phase, a programme of events and activities will be held to fully involve members of the local community and visitors in the process, including:

  • ‘Hard hat’ tours during the building works to show people the progress
  • Family activity holiday days and weekends
  • Tea and talks
  • An in-depth three-year project with Sudbury Primary School and Hatton Heath Fields Primary School
  • Temporary exhibitions, and
  • Community inspired heritage drama productions.

We will also work closely with Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood, Sudbury Estate and HMP Sudbury to help strengthen local partnership working.

Commenting on the award, Tim Webber, Chair of SGRT said: “We are thrilled to have received this support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund as it means we can create a much-needed public space in Sudbury. Our aim is to create a facility that can be used by everyone, and we’ll be working with the local community to make sure the building meets the needs of the people of Sudbury, as well as retaining its architectural charm.

“We’ll be hosting regular events to keep people up-to-date with progress, the first of which will be held in March.”

Anne Jenkins, Director of England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are excited to support the ‘Rescuing and Restoring Sudbury Gasworks’ project in order to preserve this part of our industrial heritage, whilst also  enabling people to explore its fascinating heritage.  This project will ensure that Sudbury Gasworks Restoration Trust can safeguard this important local landmark, and provide opportunities for local communities to celebrate their local history, and build on that heritage for the future.”