Derby Restoration Project Receives Commendation

An ambitious project to restore three heritage properties on St Mary’s Gate in Derby has received a commendation from the Derby Civic Society.

Former homes at numbers 23, 25 and 26 St Mary’s Gate have been commended in the Restoration Projects category at the 2022 George Larkin Brighter City of Derby awards.

The awards are usually presented annually by Derby Civic Society, a voluntary organisation which encourages the highest standards of building design whether in new builds or restoration.

However, due to the pandemic, there were no awards in 2021, so this year's awards cover two years of building completions.

The commendation was presented to developers LIDHER by the Mayor of the Derby, Councillor Robin Wood, at the Civic Society’s annual coffee morning, which took place at the Olde Bell Hotel on Sadler Gate.

The Lidher family bought the properties in 2017, which were formerly occupied by Derby City Council and had been vacant for a decade.

Two of the buildings were originally built as individual residential properties in the late 19th century, and the other operated as the Marlborough Head public house. The restoration will allow all three addresses to be used for residential purposes.

Work on the restoration of the properties began in February 2020, just weeks before the first lockdown. The Lidher family were committed to the project though and it continued as planned despite the lockdown. At one stage, it was the only construction project being carried out in the city.

The construction team were faced with a number of challenges during the first stages of the restoration. Many materials were in short supply, but thanks to their long-standing relationships with builders’ merchants, they were able to maintain supplies.

The building, stonework and pillars have now been sympathetically restored by a team of time-served local craftsmen.

The project involved removing the existing purple and grey paint to get to the traditional stonework below and restore the original frontage and other original features. More than £70,000 was spent restoring the façade of the building.

The Lidher family have a track record of successfully restoring heritage buildings in and around Derby and are currently renovating The Pattenmakers Arms pub in Duffield which is set to re-open in the New Year.

The Derby Civic Awards were launched in the 1960s to highlight the city’s high standard in building design, whether in new builds or restoration.

The overall winner of the restoration project awards was the multi-million-pound creation of the Museum of Making at the Silk Mill.

Commenting on the project, Ashley Waterhouse, chairman of Derby Civic Society, said:

"The houses in St Mary’s Gate demonstrate that with skill and use of traditional materials old buildings can be given a new lease of life, without cost to the environment. All the buildings have been sensitively restored to residential accommodation, whilst retaining their original frontages and as many of the original features as possible.

"The society is pleased that the buildings have been sensitively returned to their original residential use and we are therefore delighted to make this award.”

Commenting on winning the award, Pam Lidher from LIDHER Developments, said:

“We’re thrilled to have received recognition from the Derby Civic Society for the hard work that has gone into the restoration of the buildings at St Mary’s Gate.

“The project was a labour of love that was started at the peak of the pandemic, which proved quite challenging at times, but our team of tradesmen worked extremely hard to ensure the restoration was done to a high standard. We’re excited to see the building in use soon.”

Every year, Derby Civic Society considers suggestions from its own members and/or the public for the awards which were established to recognise improvements to the environment of Derby whether by new construction, renovation, adaptation, restoration, or maintenance.

The scheme was founded by the late George Larkin, a well-known Derby architect, and partner in T H Thorpe and Partners, architects, who was also a past president of the society.