Listed Building Consent Submitted for Repairs to Lancaster Grand Theatre

HPA have submitted Listed Building Consent for the important repair and redecoration of The Grand Theatre in the centre of Lancaster.

Indicative Drawing of Proposed Facade Repair and Redecoration

The History of Grand

Opening as a purpose built theatre in 1782, the building would have served as one of Britain’s first purpose built theatre houses at the time. The theatre is recorded in the National Heritage List for England, and has impressively been running as a theatre almost continually ever since its initial opening.

Throughout this time, the theatre has undergone numerous extensions, alterations and rebuilds, including repairs after a fire in 1908 which is believed to have damaged the building badly.

Some key historical events at the Grand includes its purchase by Edmund Sharpe, the English architect and architect historian who altered and re-opened the theatre as ‘The Music Hall’ in 1843. Later in 1897 theatre architect Frank Matcham helped re-open the theatre as ‘The Athenaeum’, where he supervised extensive re-modelling of the stage and auditorium.

With such a rich and important history, it has been important for HPA to understand the history of the building so that repairs and redecorations are carried out tastefully and effectively.

The Grand’s Existing Facade

Our Approach

Extensive investigative works have been undertaken throughout our design process at the theatre, including specialist paint analysis, cleaning trails, render analysis and structural surveys to better understand the makeup of the façade and devise an appropriate scheme moving forwards. HPA have worked closely with Lancaster Footlights, the Conservation Officer, and the Heritage Action Zone Team to submit this Listed Building Consent application.

The result of HPA’s analysis has led to a plan focussed on repair and redecoration. The existing façade which has been identified to have cracks in the render and wet rot on the windows & cornice would be cleaned, and the render beneath the façade would be repaired to maintain the original fabric of the building.

 Works to the theatre also include replacing the modern windows in the first and second floor with a one over one sliding sash window. These will be handmade timber casement windows, reminiscent of the materials and methods that would have been traditionally used. This would create an enhancement to the heritage assets through reinstating a historic fenestration pattern, as seen in historic photographs from 1884.

Enhancing the Past

Looking back to the previous 1900 design style of the building has helped inform HPA’s decorative scheme, creating a historically accurate finish. This has also been used to inform the signage replacement, which would be a hand painted sign used to declutter the façade and reinstate a historical feature.

The scheme would create enhancement to the listed building and conservation area through the use of traditional materials to repair the historic fabric of the building, along with reinstating historical form and features.

“We are also supportive of these plans, which would update the theatre’s appearance in a fashion which is appropriate for a historic building within a conservation area whilst also being of contemporary style which will help broaden the appeal of the theatre to a wider audience.”

Tom Clarke MRTPI, National Planning Adviser

HPA have specialist knowledge in listed buildings and heritage planning. Read more about the heritage and conservation work we have previously carried out here.

References:

https://database.theatrestrust.org.uk/resources/theatres/show/2264-grand-lancaster

https://lancastergrand.co.uk/about/history/

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